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From Heaven on Earth, Lute Music from Kremsmunster Abbey - Hoffmann

From Heaven on Earth, Lute Music from Kremsmunster Abbey - Hoffmann

Challenge Classics  CC 72740

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Instrumental


Ferdinand Fischer: Partitas in D minor, C major & C minor

Hubert Hoffmann (lute)


Hubert Hoffmann: When I visited the Benedictine Abbey of Kremsmünster in Upper Austria some years ago to look at the lutes stored in the abbey archives, I could not guess that this visit would radically change my life as a lutenist. I learnt that the writer of tablatures I discovered was a member of the abbey named Pater Ferdinando (Fischer). It soon turned out that much of the music set down by this scribe was not to be found in the numberless lute manuscripts from this period scattered around the world. These were unique manuscripts. Moreover they contained quite extraordinary works of striking compositional quality: new lute music in the form of cyclical poems of a lute enthusiast – a padre - at the turn of the 17th/18th centuries.

In one of the quietest recording studios in all of Europe – the Galaxy studios in Mol, Belgium - we finally brought the long since faded lute-poems of Pater Ferdinando back to life. Through the wonderfully delicate sound of my lute, Bert's immeasurable sensitivity and the most advanced recording technology that I have ever had the privilege of using, the lutenist-pater began speaking to us once more.

Contextually Fischer's putative original compositions are only distinguishable from the other anonymous works through their stylistic features. The first clue is to be found in the considerable proportion of previously completely unknown cycles, whose exquisite quality, high degree of originality and compositional autonomy, together with the considerable technical demands they make upon the player, lead us to assume a common authorship.

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Review by Adrian Quanjer - November 20, 2016

Ferdinand who? Fischer! According to the liner notes P. Ferdinand (-Pecheur). Fischer is a (very) common German name and so is Ferdinand. There was a composer by the name of Ferdinand Fischer (Johann Caspar Ferdinand Fischer, not to be mixed up with Johann Fischer), but he lived from 1656 till 1746 in Germany and not in Austria. And the addition -pecheur strikes French speaking people as odd: the French word 'pêcheur’ is ‘fisher(man)’ in English (which is fischer in German). On the other hand, ‘pécheur’ is ‘sinner’. Could that be the link with Kremsmünster Abbey? Who knows?

According, once again, to the liner notes, Fischer wasn’t a composer, or ‘hardly been considered as a composer’, but a monk who played the lute. Rudolf Flotzinger, responsible for the research and the liner notes explains in some detail what has been discovered and why there is a link to P. Fischer. In short: that he was a priest and a competent lute player who collected and most likely wrote lute music for himself. More research, says Flotzinger, has still to be done, but what remains for us now, is that we have here a wonderful set of baroque lute music that has never been recorded before. A valuable addition to the catalogue, indeed!

The player is known. It is Hubert Hofmann, and he is a d…. good one, too. What more can I say?

Well, I can safely say that this disk is a must for anyone playing this instrument, and that it is of equally great interest to all those who want to broaden their knowledge in this field. The more so, because we have here a recording of the highest quality, made in the famous Galaxy Studio facility at Mol, Belgium, under supervision of Bert van der Wolf.

Blangy-le-Château,
Normandy, France.

Copyright © 2016 Adrian Quanjer and HRAudio.net

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Comment by hiredfox - November 24, 2016 (1 of 1)

Adrian. Thank you for the background information which is very interesting and much appreciated. Of course it is very obscure music but all credit to Challenge Classics for making the disc available for what will be a very small fringe market.