The Recordings

For Olaf Raitzig the most important goal was the musical realization of his transcriptions. After all, the written note merely provides a basis for the music. He was adamant about bringing these motets to life.

As a great admirer of the ars nova he closely observed performances of this repertoire as well as releases of LP and CD recordings in this field. In his opinion the ars nova motets did not receive sufficient attention. He knew that in general they were considered “inaccessible and mannered”, and he suspected that at the time ensembles found their musical realization difficult.

All this served to confirm his intentions. He began to produce audio examples to make these pieces more accessible for musicians.

In 1987 he exchanged his wonderful Blüthner grand piano for a “Commodore-C64” computer; he used the music program “Supertrack” created by the company “C-Lab” as a sequencer, taking the first step into the world of synthetic sound.

Soon after he replaced the Commodore by an “Atari-1040ST” computer with the excellent music program “Notator”. At the same time he bought his first Yamaha synthesizer.

To this basic equipment he gradually added a variety of synthesizers, reverberators and mixing desks, whose variability he made use of by reprogramming their starting transients, tonal colors and intrinsic lines to fit his needs.



He came to like working with these modern instruments, and what at first was meant to be only a supporting tool increasingly turned into his primary task.

An example of the choice and combination of the individual instruments is found here.

The following quotation illustrates his motivation rather well:
“At first I used synthesizers to make recordings that would enable my singers to master rhythmically difficult works more easily. But soon I learned to appreciate the extraordinarily rich artistic potential which this new type of instrument offers particularly for the realization of ars nova motets.

For in the course of its development extending over two hundred years the Gothic motet showed a tendency to subject all of its musical elements to rational control and by this means – and this is what is unique! – to heighten its expressiveness. For this the synthesizer in my opinion is the suitable instrument, as it does not owe its existence to precious material and noble forms but to correct calculations.”

The last twelve years of his life Olaf Raitzig dedicated exclusively to the musical realization of the motets.

Until his death on 22 August 2008 he produced a great many recordings, which he gathered under the French heading “alors”.