This volume brings together four funeral songs composed by the Coburg court music director Melchior Franck (c. 1579-1639) for the funerals of his employers. These are the brothers Johann Casimir of Saxe-Coburg (1564-1633) and Johann Ernst of Saxe-Eisenach (1566-1638) from the Ernestine line of the House of Wettingen. [...]
The two pairs of works from 1634 (nos. I and II) and 1639 (nos. III and IV) presented here have a strikingly similar contrasting layout. They each contain a representative motet, in which sections of elaborate polyphony alternate with a compact, antiphonal double chorus, and whose text is taken from the standardised repertoire of supra-personal and frequently set funeral verses (I. "Unser Leben weret siebnzig Jahr", III. "Die mit Thränen seen"). Each of these is accompanied by a more intimate piece for four voices, which is characterised by its predominantly homophonic, song-like simplicity and, in the style of a funeral dirge, a more personal text in the first person (II. "Christus der ist mein Leben", IV. "Unsers Hertzen Freude hat ein Ende").