WORKS: Suscipe, clementissime Deus; Sonata No. 19; Canzona No. 14
PERFORMER: Gabrieli Consort & Players/ Paul McCreesh
CATALOGUE NO: 449 180-2
Inspired by Thomas Coryat’s detailed description of a musical performance at the Scuola Grande di San Rocco on St Roch’s day in 1608, Paul McCreesh and the Gabrieli Consort and Players offer this imaginative concert, evoking the full magnificence of that remarkable event. The original list of compositions has not survived, but the eighteen works here, mostly by Giovanni Gabrieli, form an impressive musical triptych with six pieces in each ‘panel’.
In the opening sequence, the Consort and Players portray the festive mood of ‘In ecclesiis’ and the reverential tone of Sonata No. 19 and ‘Suscipe, clementissime Deus’ with comparable appropriateness. The jubilant Canzona No. 14 is played with infectious rhythmic vitality, and their sensitivity to Gabrieli’s colourful word-painting in ‘Buccinate in neomenia tuba’ is enhanced by a vivid recording.
The symmetrical central panel focuses on Gabrieli’s vocal writing for three violins in Sonata No. 21, flanked by David Hurley’s delicious singing in two alluringly sensuous motets by the falsettist Barbarino (one of the original musicians) and deftly-balanced accounts of ‘Domine Deus meus’ and ‘Timor et tremor’ for choir and organ. The final section culminates in arresting performances of Gabrieli’s hypnotically kaleidoscopic polyphony in the Sonata No. 20 and sumptuous 33-part ‘Magnificat’. Nicholas Rast