Vaet: Missa Ego flos campi; Magnificat octavi toni; Salve regina; Miserere mei, Deus; Antevenis virides etc

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Vaet
LABELS: Hyperion
WORKS: Missa Ego flos campi; Magnificat octavi toni; Salve regina; Miserere mei, Deus; Antevenis virides etc
PERFORMER: Cinquecento
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 67733

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When Vaet died at the age of 37 he had already achieved considerable worldly success: he was a favourite at the Habsburg court; a friend of Lassus; and the composer of some 100 works – most of which have never been recorded before.

One can understand, then, the temptation to squeeze onto this single disc an entire Mass, a complete magnificat and seven long motets. But this seems to have led to slightly too much haste in some of these substantial works, written with thick textures for six or seven voices.

The Credo is hectic and featureless, and even the beautifully crafted bass duet in ‘Pleni sunt caeli’ passes by in a flash, not helped by the slightly muddy acoustic at the lower end.

This is a pity since these are really good singers, and when the construction of the music invites them to unwind (as in the wonderful Spiritus Domini) we are treated to a delicious feast of harmonic tension and inwardly-sensed architecture.

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Other gems include the expressive Miserere mei and a brilliant Salve Regina – but a firm hand needs to steady their pace. Anthony Pryer