P. H. Erlebach: Lieder
Le Banquet Céleste; Damien Guillon
Alpha Classics ALPHA 725


Written by James Nightingale

Philipp Heinrich Erlebach was one of many German composers of the late 17th century whose work has fallen off the pages of history. Erlebach is reputed to have possessed a library of 2500 manuscripts of music, a collection of others and his own, that was destroyed some 20 years after his death in a fire at Rudolfstadt where he had served as Kapellmeister.

His surviving works are from the collections of others, and it has required a good deal of detective work to uncover them. Amongst Erlebach’s exceptional works are his two sets of Harmonious Joy of Musical Friends: Moral and Political Songs with Ritornellos.  These are examples both of secular German song and of the ethics of their day, and they are given a sympathetic and engaging interpretation from Le Banquet Céleste, voiced and led by counter-tenor Damien Guillon.

Alongside Erlebach’s songs are two instrumental sonatas that allow us to perceive even better the craft and imagination of this almost forgotten composer. Delicate music that will soothe the soul.