Vecchi's Requiem conducted by Björn Schmelzer

A
a
-
Album title:
Vecchi
Composer(s):
Vecchi
Works:
Requiem; plus works by Hèle, D Lôbo, & Ruimonte
Performer:
Graindelavoix/Björn Schmelzer
Label:
Glossa
Catalogue Number:
GCD P32113
Performance:
starstarstarstarnostar
Recording:
starstarstarstarnostar
4
Reviewer:
BBC Music Magazine
Vecchi's Requiem conducted by Björn Schmelzer

With its talk of euchronic character and meta-disguise, this disc’s liner booklet could fill a few columns of Pseud’s Corner, and some listeners will find Graindelavoix’s unconventional performances equally posturing. The programme is a speculative recreation of the music that may have been sung at the obsequies of the painter Peter Paul Rubens – the Antwerp-based ensemble’s great local here – and its focal point is the starkly beautiful Requiem by Orazio Vecchio (hard to believe that this chromatic outpouring was penned by the same composer as the frothy, satirical madrigal-comedy L’Amfiparnaso).

If you’re familiar with sacred vocal polyphony sung by pure-voiced English groups, these rasping and gravelly vocal timbres could hardly be further removed. Add to that oriental-style ornaments, wailing portamentos (it comes as no surprise to learn that Björn Schmelzer is an ethnomusicologist), and ensemble that is (deliberately) frayed at the edges, and you have some shocking results. The performing style is not exactly new (the Ensemble Organum took a similar approach to its performances of medieval polyphony back in the ’90s) but it’s uncommon to hear it used in this later repertoire. It’s an interesting, and ultimately quite mesmerizing, experiment – the aural equivalent to Rubens’s swirling movement and dramatic sfumato.

Kate Bolton-Porciatti

 

Skempton: The Rime of the Ancient Mariner; Only the Sound Remains
Skempton: The Rime of the Ancient Mariner; Only the Sound Remains
previous review Article
Ars Nova Copenhagen perform works by Skempton et al
Ars Nova Copenhagen perform works by Skempton et al
next review Article
We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. Cookies perform functions like recognising you each time you visit and delivering advertising messages that are relevant to you. Read more here