Francesco Gasparini: Mass for Five Treble Voices

Gasparini Mass for five treble voices

Recent Researches in the Music of the Baroque Era, 208
Edited by Christine R. Howlett
x, four plates, 80pp.
A-R Editions, Inc. ISBN 978-1-9872-0281-6 $150

I have known about this work for many, many years so it is a real pleasure to welcome a fine edition of it. Unusual not only for its scoring (SSSAA & Basso contiuo) but also the fact that it is a full mass (with Credo AND Agnus Dei), it is – as Christine Howlett says in her fine introduction to the work – a showstopper for the female singers of the Pietà in Venice, where Gasparini was maestro di coro from 1710. There are solos and duets but much of the work actually does use a five-part texture, though the composer is careful to deploy the voices in a variety of combinations to maximise aural variety, including having two or more voices sing passages in unison. All in all, this is an excellent edition of a very exciting work and I sincerely hope that it can be made available at bulk discount price to female choirs who will simply love it!

Brian Clark

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