Sabbato Sancto - Paolo Aretino: Lamentationes Et Responsoria
Odhecaton, Paolo da Col
Paulo Aretino (Paolo Antonio Del Bivi) 1508-1584 is very definitely on trend for the current renaissance polyphony scene: a few decades ago he might have been dismissed as a minor master, but today’s ensembles are curious to step away from the core, canonic, Palestrina-et-al composers, and like his recently celebrated German contemporary, Ludwig Daser, Aretino’s music is rewarding and exciting. In short, well worth the find.
The lamentations recorded here were published in the 1540s, either side of the composer's three-year stint as maestro di cappella at San Pietro, Faenza. Yet he spent the rest of his career in Arezzo where his talents were much celebrated, and this album will show you why. The Lamentations are set for low voices in voci pari - equal ranges, mostly - so, very much Hilliard Ensemble territory as was. Odhectaton, however, are consistently more emotive and extrovert than most British ensembles past and present, plus they have skilled, low basses underpinning the whole album and resonating richly in the generous acoustic of Chiesa di Sant'Ignazio, Arezzo, Italy. For my tastes I'd prefer to hear a little more of the top line at certain points (especially when taken by countertenors), but less of one rather strident tenor.
To read the full text of this review please visit Gramophone (November 2023)