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LABELS: Symphonia
WORKS: Missa Non sine quare
PERFORMER: La Risonanza/Fabio Bonizzoni (organ)
Johann Caspar Kerll worked mainly in Vienna, during the 17th century. He was pupil of Carissimi and teacher of Pachelbel, thus belonging within the line of succession culminating in JS Bach, who much admired his music. This Mass, published in 1689, certainly reveals Kerll as a polished if at times meandering contrapuntist, with a plethora of descriptive ideas somewhat underdeveloped in the extended texts of Gloria and Credo. The terser Sanctus and Benedictus are more rewarding, particularly in a dancing ‘Hosanna’.


Kerll is more inspired in the sonatas and Sacrae cantiones selected here for the Proper of the Mass. Gradual and Post-Communion have sectional Italianate trio sonatas, played with captivating meditative freedom alternating with arrestingly perky articulations in fast passages. An intensely pensive opening of the second sonata (newly discovered), leads to some strikingly flashy figuration in the following Allegro. Best, though, are the additional ‘Sacred songs’. Here, with the sentiment of the words more constant, Kerll has space to extend imitations, echoes and dialogues and, in the final Regina coeli, a dancing ‘alleluia’. The solo voices and strings of La Risonanza give virtually flawless performances, milking every nuance from the music. Recorded sound is close – the perspective of conductor rather than congregation. George Pratt