12 Jul 2019

Hieronymus Praetorius: Motets in 8, 10, 12, 16 & 20 Parts

Hieronymus Praetorius: Motets in 8, 10, 12, 16 & 20 Parts
Alamire / His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts / Stephen Farr (organ) / David Skinner
(Inventa Records)

The music of Hieronymus Praetorius is clearly influenced by Giovanni Gabrielli and the Venetian polychoral style which flourished at the beginning of the seventeenth century. Through this influence Praetorius became the first internationally famous composer of Hamburg and is best known today for his double choir Magnificats and arrangements of medieval tunes including in dulci iubilo. This new double-album explores larger-scale motets from 8 to 20 voices from his opus musicum (5 volumes 1599-1625) and is performed by combinations of cornetts, sackbuts, voices (with organ continuo) and solo organ.

The largest motet, Decantabat populus a20 is a text about singing praises. Despite grand forces and wide vocal ranges the textures avoid heaviness through use of word-rhythms and sprightly polychoral exchanges. David Skinner plays on these juxtapositions with a separation of voices and instruments. I love the warm, unhurried grandeur His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts bring to this performance and they are well balanced with the superb singers of Alamire in the acoustic of St Augustine’s, Kilburn.


To read the full text of this article please visit www.gramophone.co.uk (Aug 2019)

1 Jul 2019

LEONARDO DA VINCI La Musique Secrète

Leonardo da Vinci: la musique secrète
Doulce Mémoire, Denis Raisin Dadre

(Alpha Classic, 2019)

This new album and book from renaissance specialists Doulce Mémoire marks 500 years since the death of Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519). More than a thoughtful programme of music from a half-millennium ago, this personal journey through the Louvre’s Leonardo collection is the brain-child of director Denis Raisin Dadre who has matched paintings to exact musical contemporaries. Sparked by careful research and fruitful obsessions, the resulting performances—recorded in front of large reproductions of each artwork—are deliciously atmospheric.

[...] Unsurprisingly for a programme focussed on music-making in late 15th century Italy this is a selection dominated by oltremontani, and this Franco-Flemmish influence is crowned by Leonardo’s portrait of a musician now thought to be Josquin (1450-1521). This begets one of my favourite tracks on the disc: Josquin’s Planxit autem David has a Hilliard Ensemble-esque hue thanks to the richness of countertenor Marnix de Cat.

As the programme unfolds from deft Basse danses to Marchetto Cara’s sprightly Tante Volte si si si we hear an impressive and persuasive attempt to uncover Leonardo’s subliminal music. The Mona Lisa is a high point: Putrucci’s Per sonetti (1505) generates another charming performance from Clara Coutouly to the luminous sound of Baptiste Romain’s lire da braccio.

To read the full text of this article please visit www.gramophone.co.uk (Jul 2019)