Album: Weckmann, Wie Liegt die Stadt so Wüste (Harmonia Mundi)

Roughly contemporary with Buxtehude, Matthias Weckmann is another example of the rich brew of Venetian and French influences that coloured the devotional music of the Hanseatic League.

The Sacred Concerto of the title opens with a harrowing depiction of a devastated city: Jerusalem, according to the text, but also Hamburg, where Weckmann's wife was a victim of the plague. As ever with Cantus Cölln, the singing is tonally idiosyncratic but fervent, the playing is beyond reproach. Beautiful and terribly, terribly sad.

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