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Conductor Pablo Heras Casado - the 'Praetorius' Album on Music Box, 8th June, 2015

Monday, 15 June 2015 , ora 11.50

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On 8th June, 2015, a new album at the Archiv label record, specialized in old music, will be launched internationally, bearing the signature of the Balthazar Neumann Choir and Ensemble conducted by Pablo Heras Casado. Obviously, on the album one can find old music, I would even suggest quite specialized, because I am sure, not many of us have heard the name of the German family of composers, Praetorius. As a matter of act, the album itself is called Praetorius, too, and brings together eleven motets signed by the three members of this family who were active in the field in the 16th and 17th centuries. This is an album that I included in Radio Romania Music's Vote for the Best Classical Album of 2015 campaign.

The present album proposes a foray in the German Renaissance music. After all, when one talks about Renaissance in music, one thinks in the first place about the Italian and Flemish composers, but what happened meanwhile on German land remains quite a mystery. And then here it comes this Praetorius family in the 16th century - it is good to know that Praetorius is the Latin equivalent of the German word Schulze - scholar.

Hieronymus Praetorius

...lived between 1560 and 1629 - an organist and a composer, a traditionalist who wrote religious works mostly - masses and motets, in Latin only. His style looks like the Venetian Counterpoint - a unique world inside Hieronymus Praetorius' music, represented in this album by five motets with lenght varying between four and twenty minutes.

Jacob Praetorius

Hieronymous' son was a composer himself: Jacob Praetorius, who lived between 1586 and 1621, the pupil of a Flemish maestro, Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck. Another generation, new influences: Jacob Praetorius' music announces the Baroque period through his three motets included in this album.

Michael Praetorius...

Is probably the most famous from all the composers this extended musical family has. He lived between 1571 and 1621, turbulent times from a religious point of view. Michael Praetorius is the one who tried to reconcile in his religious works the Protestantism with the Catholicism - by borrowing music characteristic to both cults.

And finally, the conductor...

I listened for the first time to Pablo Heras Casado's 2014 recordings, when he launched his brilliant Il Maestro Farinelli album which, I believe, it was one of the best last year's albums of old music. This Spanish musician aged 37 was nominated in 2014 as the Conductor of the Year by Musical America, the most important American music magazine; an important detail in his biography if we take a look at the nominees prior to him, such as, the famous Gustavo Dudamel. Pablo Heras Casado is at the moment the main conductor of the orchestra of St Luke's based in New York City and the main conductor invited by Teatro Real in Madrid. He has already performed at the stand of one of the most important European and American orchestras; in addition, Pablo Heras Casado is considered to be a specialist in old music - in his native Spain he formed an old music ensemble.

I think Pablo Heras Casado's main advantage is that he succeeds in making the old music sound interesting for the contemporaries, too, so different, structurally speaking, from their 16th century peers. Praetorius is a really good album, a foray into a world of peace and tranquility.

The album can be listened to on Radio Romania Music right on the day of its international release on Monday, 8th June, 19:00; the repeats are scheduled on Sunday, 14th June, at 13:05.

Cristina Comandașu
Translated by Anca Romete and Elena Daniela Radu
MTTLC, the University of Bucharest