Cantus Cölln, an ensemble of vocal soloists, was founded in 1987 by the well-known lutenist Konrad Junghänel. In the space of just a few years, the ensemble has managed to secure a place among the world’s leading vocal groups.
Cantus Cölln concentrates on the field of German and Italian vocal music from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. The German vocal music from these eras, in particular, offers an undreamed-of wealth of outstanding compositions, which have remained largely neglected up to now. Cantus Cölln has already included several of these works in its repertoire, and has performed them in concert to an enthusiastic response from the audience. The ensemble’s work has made a considerable impression on the music critics, too, with their first recording of, the ‘Diletti pastorali’ of Johann Hermann Schein, being awarded international record prizes.
As the critics repeatedly point out, the special fascination of these singers, all of whom have enjoyed success as soloists in their own right, lies in the fact that they come remarkably close to the ideal of a homogeneous vocal ensemble, without sacrificing the characteristics of the individual singers’ voices. The well-known French CD magazine ‘Diapason’ has referred to Cantus Cölln as “one of the Early Music discoveries of recent years”.
In addition to recital programmes of unaccompanied vocal music, another point of emphasis in Cantus Cölln’s work is the interpretation of larger-scale sacred works of cantatas. Examples of this and their recording of the cantatas of Johann Rosenmüller (this CD has been awarded the ‘Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik’), and of the works by the Cantors of St. Thomas’s, Leipzig before J.S. Bach.
Cantus Cölln has made an excellent name for itself with its many appearances at such international festivals as Herne, Stuttgart, Innsbruck and Breslau, and these successful European appearances brought them invitations to visit America and Asia. Further feathers in the cap of this internationally renowned ensemble are their broadcasts for WDR West German Radio in Cologne, and regular recordings released on the BMG/Deutsche Harmonia Mundi and Harmonia Mundi France labels as part of long-term collaboration.