Marcello: Requiem ‘cantato secondo l’usanza Venetiana’

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LABELS: Chandos Chaconne
WORKS: Requiem ‘cantato secondo l’usanza Venetiana’
PERFORMER: Marisa Pugina, Barbara Zanichelli (soprano), Elena Biscuola, Paolo Costa (alto), Mauro Collina, Vincenzo Di Donato (tenor), Marco Scavazza, Walter Testolin (bass); Athestis Chorus, Academia de li Musici/Filippo Maria Bressan
It is a terrible thing to say, but if this splendid Requiem were known under Vivaldi’s name, it would certainly not only now be receiving its premiere recording. Never mind, better late than never. Part of the trouble is the fact that Benedetto Marcello was a ‘nobile dilettante’ (aristocratic amateur) and in the 19th century not taken as seriously as a (presumably) hard-working professional. The first performance of Marcello’s Requiem in modern times was given at Venice on 12 September 1996. The principal sources are in London and Berlin, and the excellent musicological research was done by Alessandro Borin, who also contributes a useful scholarly note. The performance using period instruments is serious, dedicated and somehow very touching, entirely worthy of the work. Marcello, it seems, gave up composing entirely in the 1720s, and this Requiem is in the nature of a valedictory last offering: all very mysterious. A most worthwhile operation. HC Robbins Landon