Magazine article Gramophone

Vecchi: La Hele Missa Praeter Rerum Seriem-Kyrie

Magazine article Gramophone

Vecchi: La Hele Missa Praeter Rerum Seriem-Kyrie

Article excerpt

Vecchi

La Hele Missa Praeter rerum seriem--Kyrie; Sanctus; Agnus Dei Lobo Missa Dum aurora Agnus Dei Ruimonte Missa Ave virgo sanctissima--Agnus Dei Vecchi Requiem Graindelavoix / Bjorn Schmelzer Glossa (F) GCDP32113 (67' * DDD * T/t)

While not exactly a revelation (given its audible debt to Ensemble Organum), Graindelavoix's recent recording of Machaut's Mass was vocally superlative and integrated within a very strong programme. But this latest enterprise brings back to mind everything that's problematic about Bjorn Schmelzer's enterprise. Orazio Vecchi's Requiem was published in Antwerp in 1612. Schmelzer proposes that the work was performed at the obsequies of Peter Paul Rubens in the same city nearly 30 years later. He doesn't disclose his reasoning sufficiently for proper evaluation, but the rest of the programme consists of isolated Mass movements also published in Antwerp over a 60-year period: it seems that the raison d'etre of the Rubens connection is a lengthy disquisition on Baroque aesethetics whose pertinence to these specific works one isn't inclined to take on trust, and which do little in any case to illuminate Graindelavoix's performances.

Those performances are themselves not quite the finished article, though there's no denying that the sound in itself is very seductive, especially with the full ensemble. Vecchi's lengthy, double-choir 'Dies irae' ought to be the programme's centrepiece, but a countertenor of unreliable tone quality and more uncertain intonation cuts the grass clean under it (the tuning of the top voices generally is hit-and-miss). …

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