Personalities | Oswald von Wolkenstein | Medieval Era | Classical
(Oz’-valt fun Vol’-ken-shtin) c. 1376–1445
South Tyrolean poet
Oswald von Wolkenstein has been called the most important poet writing in German between Walther von der Vogelweide and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832). He is known to have been a singer and was also very active in the political sphere. Well over 100 poems can be attributed to him, but it is not clear how many of their settings, both monophonic and polyphonic, were composed by him. It seems likely that much of the music to which he set poetry was composed by other musicians; this certainly applies to polyphonic settings (he most often used French chansons, but he also used Landini’s ballata ‘Questa fanciulla’ (‘This Girl’) for a contrafactum, a work in which a new text has replaced the original one). However, he may have composed at least some of the monophonic melodies himself. His is a particularly interesting output, showing the overlap between a sophisticated international repertory and older local traditions.
Knightly Passions: the Songs of Oswald von Wolkenstein, New London Consort (dir) Philip Pickett (Decca/L’Oiseau Lyre)
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