The release of a new recording from La Morra is always an exciting moment for creative and imaginative artistry, not just within the realms of late medieval and early renaissance music. With a disc focusing on the 15th-century composer Petrus Wilhelmi de Grudencz, in a production from the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, the ensemble is set to repeat its happy knack of alighting upon an area of largely untravelled repertory and preparing an enjoyably fascinating programme from it.
Wilhelmi was what can be called a Central-European composer: born in today’s Poland he was active in German, Bohemian and Silesian territory, a musician from within the Holy Roman Empire, and open to new trends coming from the West and South. Without being a cultural force to rival his near contemporary Guillaume Dufay, Wilhelmi provided music which had a long-lasting appeal for the learned, non-professional musicians in Central-European lands.
Corina Marti and Michal Gondko, the Swiss ensemble’s joint artistic directors since its formation back in 2000, add their skills as instrumentalists (keyboard, recorders and lute) to those of their quartet of singers in a survey which also embraces further Latin and secular-texted compositions by Nicolaus de Radom, Johannes Tourout and Othmarus Opilionis de Jawor, further examples of how Central European composers were absorbing ideas coming from the Franco-Flemish tradition, Italy and also the Ars Nova from France.
photos © Susanna Drescher