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Live recordings of Early Music concerts. Today, recordings from two concerts that were given in March 2024, both centered around the church celebration of Easter. The Margaretha Consort presented a programme with Northern German baroque composers, ensemble Les Tendres Plaines a programme with French baroque composers.

A) ‘Passion and Easter’ – Margaretha Consort
Translated from the programme booklet: “Sorrow, suffering, grief, and death have been sources of inspiration for composers throughout the ages. This tells us something about art and its necessity. Art is what we turn to when we don’t know what else to do. Music is important for expressing emotions when we don’t have the words to describe them. Sooner or later, each of us faces sorrow and death. We witness the suffering in the world: Gaza, Ukraine, Tigray, etc. In our personal lives, we also encounter illness, loneliness, loss, and longing. Tonight’s programme explores themes of grief and suffering. The passionate music from the 17th century is filled with sorrow but also brings comfort, encouragement, and above all, beauty. The story of Jesus’ passion is a prime example—the ultimate story of injustice, betrayal, pain, and suffering. Yet it’s also a story of hope, peace, and liberation. Doesn’t suffering often lead to new life, new opportunities, and new possibilities? This demonstrates that music from the 17th century is far from dusty and dull—it’s vibrantly alive! The Margaretha Consort wants to show that even music from the Lenten period can sound enchanting. Their creative approach, both from a liturgical perspective and a pragmatic, improvisational one, brings this music to us as a living, functional organism tonight. We hope you enjoy the beautiful music we’ve selected to sing about both suffering and the redemption from that suffering.”

Jacob Handl
01. Ecce Quomodo Moritur Iustus
Dieterich Buxtehude
02. Jesus meines Lebens Leben
Johann Christoph Demantius
03. Weissagung
Heinrich Schütz
04. O Süßer, O Freundlicher
05. Herzliebster Jesu, was hast du verbrochen
Frans Tunder
06. O Jesu dulcissime
Hans Leo Hassler
07. O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden
08. Christ lag in Todesbanden
Christian Geist
09. Es war aber an der Stätte
Andreas Hammerschmidt
10. Ach Jesus stirbt
Becker/de Vries/Johann Michael Bach
11. Jesu meine Freude
Buxtehude/de Vries/Crüger
12. Heut triomphieret Gottes Sohn

Margaretha Consort: Tanja Obalski, soprano. Govaart Haché, alto. Kevin Skelton, tenor. Gunther Vandeven, baritone. David McCune, bass. Cecilia Clares Clares and Roger Junyent Balasch, violin. Marit Broekroelofs and Maaike Boekholt, viola da gamba. Marike Tuin, violone. Jorge Lopez-Escribano, chest organ. Sietze de Vries, church organ
recording: Peize, 27 March 2024
Tech: Hans Beek

B) ‘Tristis est anima mea’ – Les Tendres Plaintes
Translated from the programme booklet: “Among the 18th-century French settings of the Lamentations of Jeremiah, the so-called ‘Leçons de Ténèbres,’ the version by François Couperin is one of the most famous. Understandably so—the angelic arrangement with one or two sopranos, the long, elegant cantilenas that intertwine in sweet harmonies and poignant dissonances—this style was very popular in the 18th century, garnering significant public acclaim. These texts from the Lamentations belong to the Nocturnes of the three days before Easter: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. They are typically grouped into sets of three ‘Leçons’ for each day, often presented in an elaborate musical setting. In the early 18th century, music during Holy Week was nearly banned everywhere except at the Longchamp Abbey, just outside of Paris. Here, services still featured extensive musical performances. As a result, large crowds would flock to Longchamp during Holy Week to attend an Office des Ténèbres. For convenience, these services, which were originally meant to take place shortly after midnight, were rescheduled to the afternoon of the preceding day. And so, visiting Longchamp became a very popular destination. Only the first set of lamentations by Couperin, intended for Maundy Thursday, has survived. In line with tradition, it bears the title ‘Pour le Mercredy’ (Wednesday). For this concert, the Leçons de Ténèbres by François Couperin, which is performed after the intermission, are combined with vocal music by M.A. Charpentier and F. Couperin, which might also have been heard in an Office des Ténèbres or another church service during that period. The program is further complemented with suitable instrumental works. And why the name Ténèbres? Ténèbres means ‘darkness’. The name likely originated because, during these services, candles were extinguished one by one until it was almost completely dark.”

Francois Couperin
13. Les jumèles
Marc-Antoine Charpentier
14. Tristis est anima mea
Marin Marais
15. Tombeau por Mr. De St. Colombo
Marc-Antoine Charpentier
16. O Juda
Les Tendres Plaintes: Tanja Obalski and Bethany Shepherd, soprano. Marike Tuin, viola da gamba. Robert Koolstra, harpsichord
recording: Lekkum, 21 March 2024
Tech: Hans Beek

Francois Couperin
17. Leçons de Ténèbres pour le Mercredi Saint (1714)
Les Tendres Plaintes
recording: Lekkum, 21 March 2024


Pictured above: Marit Broekroelofs (source:

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