Jacobus Handl (Gallus)

Resonet in Laudibus

    Description by Timothy Dickey

    Throughout Renaissance Europe, but especially in the Eastern areas, the great feast days of the Christian calendar -- Easter, Christmas, and (for Catholics) the Marian feasts -- inspired a wealth of simpler paraliturgical music, often called cantiones. A cantio could be in Latin or in the vernacular, or both (macaronic); it might have been sung in paraliturgical devotional services, in private devotions, with children in the Latin schools, or even perhaps in the streets (as with the carol). The most popular pieces, including cantiones such as In dulci jubilo and Resonet in laudibus, earned extra life as later composers latched on to them and provided ever-new polyphonic settings. As a cantio, Resonet in laudibus apparently began its life in a liturgical context. In Christmas Vespers, the singing of the Nunc dimittis at the end of the service was decorated by a Latin antiphon, Magnum nomen Domini, and a series of little songs beginning with the Resonet in laudibus text ("May Zion resound in praise"). It was in this form that Jacobus Handl encountered it as he traveled and worked in Eastern Europe. Among his numerous Masses and hundreds of liturgical works, he also left a charming four-voiced setting of Resonet in laudibus.

    Handl sets all three sections of the text and music of this cantio, and presents the well-known melody in the uppermost voice. The melody (also known to this day with the text "Joseph lieber, Joseph mein") is clearly audible, though Handl frequently alters its specific pitches for local harmonic flair. In fact, his entire harmonic conception breathes energy and fresh sounds. Many cross-relations creep into each voice part, and even the final cadence gives some harmonic surprises. His rhythms, as well, exude a festive air. The conclusion of the first "song," which finally utters the blessed name of Mary, arrives ornamented by a cross-relation, and by quick bursts of melodic activity in the lower voices. The odd repetitions of "Eia, eia" actually derive from a dance "call," and the composer similarly infects them with rhythmic interest. Let the Christ-Mass be celebrated with joy!

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2006 Resonance 3076
    2003 EMI Classics 566 2455
    2002 Newport Classic 85619
    2000 Quicksilva 6246
    1998 EMI Classics / Angel Records / EMI Music Distribution CMS 5662452
    1998 Supraphon 3340
    1997 Supraphon SU3326-2
    1996 Angel Records / EMI Music Distribution 5662422
    1995 Conifer Classics / Conifer 75605517542
    1995 Koch Schwann 310682
    1990 EMI Music Distribution CDM-63180
    Angel Records CDM-69375
    EMI Angel 69375
    Sony Music Distribution 66242
    Conifer 15907
    Titanic 211
    Hyperion CDA-66263
    Rivoalto 9505