While Washington enjoyed Indian summer conditions over the weekend, the Folger Consort celebrated Oktoberfest by offering a feast of 16th-century motets, German part songs and instrumental pieces. The regular Consort trio occasionally expanded to nine, including four vocalists, one of whom (countertenor Michael Collver) doubled on cornet. Musical gourmands also had the chance to indulge their palates during intermission with beer, wine, cider, soft pretzels and small pies.
The music of Ludwig Senfl and Heinrich Isaac dominated the program at the Folger Library, understandable since they had exerted considerable influence as court composers to Maximilian I. Senfl's motet "Ecce quam bonum" stressed religious brotherhood via the persuasive a cappella singing of soprano Johana Arnold, Collver, tenor Mark Bleeke and baritone Peter Becker. Isaac's concluding motet "Imperii proceres" again used a vocal quartet, this time with viol, lute and recorder backing, to urge all leaders to solidify Maximilian's empire.
The introspective side of Senfl and Isaac surfaced in "Pacientia," in which Arnold decried the need for patience, and in "Kein freud hab ich uff erd" ("I have no joy on this earth"), whose prisoner-of-love sentiments Bleeke expressed calmly, accompanied by Christopher Kendall on lute. No Oktoberfest would be complete without drinking songs, and the Folger Consort performed two, including "So drincken wir alle," a boisterous call for bottoms up.