Johann Heinrich Schmelzer: Le Memorie Dolorose

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Early-music ensembles TENET Vocal Artists and ACRONYM have joined forces to make the first commercial recording of a sumptuous work by composer Johann Heinrich Schmelzer (1623-1680), a sepolcro set in the tomb of Christ.


# Audio Title/Composer(s) Time
Total Time 74:19
01Instrumental: Sonata a5 in A Minor (Le Memorie Dolorose)
Instrumental: Sonata a5 in A Minor (Le Memorie Dolorose)
02Trio: Così è morto il mio Signore?
Trio: Così è morto il mio Signore?
03Recit: Forse i queruli accenti
Recit: Forse i queruli accenti
04Trio & Aria: È morto Giesù
Trio & Aria: È morto Giesù
05Trio: Madre purissima
Trio: Madre purissima
06Recit: E quali mi destate
Recit: E quali mi destate
07Aria: Miei Lumi Dolenti
Aria: Miei Lumi Dolenti
08Recit: Ò quali, Pietro
Recit: Ò quali, Pietro
09Aria: Con il Bacio, ch’è pur pegno
Aria: Con il Bacio, ch’è pur pegno
10Recit: Voi pur, Angeli
Recit: Voi pur, Angeli
11Aria: La Morte di Giesù
Aria: La Morte di Giesù
12Recit: Col cruento Holocausto
Recit: Col cruento Holocausto
13Instrumental: Sonata a4 in A Minor (GB-Ob ms.mus.Sch. C.44)
Instrumental: Sonata a4 in A Minor (GB-Ob ms.mus.Sch. C.44)
14Quartetto & Aria: La Vera luce
Quartetto & Aria: La Vera luce
15Recit: Accompagnate pur le mie dolenti
Recit: Accompagnate pur le mie dolenti
16Aria: Come, come s’arrestò
Aria: Come, come s’arrestò
17Recit: Lassa! Vi rammentate
Recit: Lassa! Vi rammentate
18Aria: Mio Giesù, mio Redentore
Aria: Mio Giesù, mio Redentore
19Recit: Da lo spogliarsi il Popolo le Vesti
Recit: Da lo spogliarsi il Popolo le Vesti
20Aria: La Porpora, Ornamento
Aria: La Porpora, Ornamento
21Recit: Udite, udite un altra
Recit: Udite, udite un altra
22Aria: Morte à Christo!
Aria: Morte à Christo!
23Instrumental: Sonata a5 in G Minor (CZ-Kra IV:63)
Instrumental: Sonata a5 in G Minor (CZ-Kra IV:63)
24Duetto: Quel, che nato, e non creato
Duetto: Quel, che nato, e non creato
25Recit: Dal Sepolcro di Christo
Recit: Dal Sepolcro di Christo
26Aria: Per Te, per Te morì
Aria: Per Te, per Te morì
27Recit: A Donna di Samaria
Recit: A Donna di Samaria
28Aria: Quella sete, Christo mio
Aria: Quella sete, Christo mio
29Recit: Ah stella, che apparisti
Recit: Ah stella, che apparisti
30Trio: Christo more!
Trio: Christo more!
31Recit: Sì, sì, affisso ad un Tronco
Recit: Sì, sì, affisso ad un Tronco
32Tutti: Sepolto Christo!
Tutti: Sepolto Christo!
33a8: Sospirate
a8: Sospirate
34Tutti: Se per mè l’Onnipotente
Tutti: Se per mè l’Onnipotente

The grieving Virgin—played by TENET artistic director Jolle Greenleaf— encounters two angels, three Apostles (Saints John, James, and Peter), three Marys (Magdalene, Cleopas, and Salome), Nicodemus, and Joseph of Arimathea. Each character tells her a story about Jesus, “dolorous memories” which only add to her torment.

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From the program notes:

This disc includes the first recording of works by Johann Heinrich Schmelzer, both his oratorio staged during Holy Week, Le Memorie dolorose (first performed in Vienna on Good Friday 1678), as well as two instrumental pieces. After decades as a highly valued violinist and composer of instrumental music to both Emperors Ferdinand III (r. 1637-57) and Leopold I (r. 1658-1705) at the Habsburg court of Vienna, Schmelzer became the head chapelmaster to Leopold for a few years (1677-80) before succumbing to the plague while the court was in Prague.

Since our oratorio was one of about seventy performed in front of a constructed reproduction of Christ’s Tomb in the royal chapels, and because it (like most but not all examples of the genre) is in Italian, it belongs to the subgenre called sepolcri, from the Italian word for “tomb.” Two instrumental works inserted into this recording as interludes come from collections in Oxford and Kromĕřiž (Czech Republic), the latter being the other major source (besides Vienna) for the composer’s music.

Engineering, producing, and mastering: Ryan Streber, Oktaven Audio
Mixing: Jolle Greenleaf and Ryan Streber
Editing: Brock Babcock and Kivie Cahn-Lipman
Modern edition, sonatas: Charles Brewer
Modern edition, Le Memorie Dolorose: Kivie Cahn-Lipman
Translation: Martin Morell
Program notes: Robert Kendrick
Italian diction coach: Charles Weaver
Ensemble photo: Joanne Bouknight
Design: Marc Wolf (

This recording is dedicated to the 172 generous donors who helped crowdfund it. Thank you so much for your support!


TENET Vocal Artists

Preëminent New York City-based early music ensemble TENET Vocal Artists celebrates its tenth season in 2018/19. Under Artistic Director Jolle Greenleaf, TENET has won acclaim for its innovative programming, virtuosic singing and command of repertoire that spans the Middle Ages to the present day. TENET’s distinguished soloists have been praised for their pristine one-voice-to-a-part singing “to an uncanny degree of precision” (The Boston Globe).


Baroque string ensemble ACRONYM is dedicated to giving modern premieres of the wild instrumental music of the seventeenth century. The group formed in 2012 to create the first recording of the "Alphabet Sonatas" of Johann Pezel. ACRONYM's following disc, sonatas by Antonio Bertali, was released in 2014 to critical acclaim; Alex Ross selected it as a CD pick, and Early Music America Magazine wrote "the idiomatic performances and spacious recording by these young musicians are absolutely first rate. This is a disc ... belonging in everyone's collection." In 2015 ACRONYM released a third album—the first recordings of Giovanni Valentini's instrumental works—which was praised in Gramophone for being "played with expertise, enthusiasm, and an almost tactile sense of timbre." In 2016 ACRONYM released its fourth album: Wunderkammer. Upcoming projects include the first recording of Samuel Capricornus's monumental "Jubilus Bernhardi" with the Bach Choir of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.

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