MICHAEL MAIER Atalanta Fugiens Music, alchemy and Rosicrucianism in the early 17th century
Ensemble Plus Ultra Michael Noone
GCD P31407 1 CD - digipak
Ensemble Plus UltraMichael Noone, direction
Grace Davidson, soprano Clare Wilkinson, alto Warren Trevelyan-Jones, tenor Giles Underwood, bass
Stephen Jones, er-hu Sue Addison, sackbut Marie Bournisien, Renaissance harp
Total playing time: 71’22 Recorded in St Andrew’s Church, Toddington (Gloucestershire, England) in August 2008 Engineered and produced by Adrian Hunter Executive producer: Carlos Céster Design: Valentín Iglesias Booklet essay: Josemi Lorenzo English Français Deutsch Español
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MICHAEL MAIER (1568-1622)
Atalanta Fugiens (1617)
1-50 Fugas I–L
About this CD
Atalanta Fugiens is considered by many to be the most beautiful and the most thought-provoking emblem book of all time, with an author in Michael Maier (1568-1622) who was a celebrated alchemist and physician at the court of the Emperor Rudolf II in Prague. In the final eight years of an eventful and much-travelled life, Maier created a series of illustrated alchemist works, among which Atalanta Fugiens is undoubtedly the most important.
Part of the fascination which this work has aroused stems from its tripartite nature: from a visual perspective with all its engraved emblems, as a musical work comprising fifty compositions, identified as “fugues”, which run through the publication and accompanying the images, and as a purely textual activity in the form of a volume of epigrams and alchemic commentaries. Additionally, Atalanta Fugiens provides part of the backdrop to an understanding of the spiritual Rosicrucian movement which flourished during the first decades of the 17th century, especially in the German principalities.
The musical pieces, of an extremely antiquated nature even for that time, consist of canons in two parts above a cantus firmus; Michael Noone and his Ensemble Plus Ultra perform them in their entirety and in the order in which they appear in the book. What emerges through the centuries across this book is a hypnotic disc, one that is unclassifiable yet extraordinarily evocative.
Following the revelatory release a couple of years ago of Morales en Toledo it is a great pleasure to welcome back Michael Noone and Ensemble Plus Ultra to Glossa for a further demonstration — in the music of Morales’ younger contemporary Francisco Guerrero — of Noone’s remarkable knack of uniting unknown music from recognized masters in superb performances underpinned by exemplary scholarship. Through his ongoing research in the Cathedral Archives in Toledo, Noone has discovered a group of six hymns by Guerrero (written when he was apprenticed to Morales), recording these in the church of San Miguel in Cuenca along with the previously-unrecorded Missa Super flumina Babylonis in the company of plainchant specialist Juan Carlos Asensio’s Schola Antiqua and the instrumentalists from His Majesties Sagbutts and Cornetts. [read more...]