CAVALLI: Messa Concertata
Seicento/The Parley of Instruments/Peter Holman, cond.
Hyperion CDA 66970 (F) (DDD) TT: 66:13

Imagine you're attending a high mass at the epicenter of 16th Century church music, Venice's St. Mark's Basilica. Admittedly, this CD holding Francesco Cavalli's Messa Concertata employs 12 singers and a small instrumental ensemble instead of antiphonal brass choirs. However, the same sonic excitement exists. Recorded in London's St. Jude's Church (a building similar in size and acoustic to St. Mark's), the vocal and instrumental sounds soar and intensify thanks to a generous reverberation time. This recording duplicates the order of service so common during Cavalli's tenure as maestro di capel at St. Mark's (1668-1676). Instrumental canzonas and an occasional motet are interspersed between the 5 Ordinary sections of the Mass. Cavalli's music, although modeled after his more famous predecessor, Claudio Monteverdi, is equally impressive especially as performed by the 8 singers comprising Seicento and Parley of Instruments conducted by Peter Holman.

K.S. (Sept. 1999)