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LABELS: Harmonia Mundi
WORKS: Missa a 24 (2 versions)
PERFORMER: Huelgas Ensemble/Paul Van Nevel
Annibale Padovano was an organist at St Mark’s, Venice, and he is chiefly known for his instrumental works. But in 1566 he moved to Graz to serve Archduke Karl II of Austria, and there he composed several Mass settings. Some of these were published in his lifetime, but Paul Van Nevel has recently discovered the manuscript sources of this unknown Mass for three eight-voiced choirs. For the most part the work is curious rather than impressive, and the same must be said of this recording.


First, the work is presented twice. In the initial run-through most of the parts are played on instruments, but in the repeat performance voices are used – except that cornetti and a trombone take the highest and lowest voice-parts respectively. Neither performance highlights the three-choir structure. Second, the track descriptions get Version I and Version II the wrong way around, which is rather confusing for the listener. Third, since the two recordings together only last 54 minutes, it might have been nice to hear a couple of motets or another Mass by Padovano. Even so, there are some arresting moments, such as the lively Osanna and the majestic opening of the Agnus Dei. Anthony Pryer