Music in 17th-century Wrocław

Floral design

Gli Angeli Genève, Concerto Palatino, Wrocław Baroque Orchestra, Stephan MacLeod
Claves Records 50-1805
Music by Bollius, Buchner, Bütner, Jarbęski, Legrenzi, Lilius, Biagio Marini, Mayer, Merula, Pacelli, Scacchi, Valentini, Zeutschner & Zieleński

[dropcap]D[/dropcap]on’t worry if some of the composers’ names look unfamiliar – I can guarantee that, if you like 17th-century music, you will totally love this disc. Covering everything from a duet for tenors by Merula to a piece by Pacelli for five choirs and voices and instruments, Stephan MacLeod guides his assembled forces through more than an hour of beautiful music, cleverly interspersing the choral works with slighter chamber pieces. Of many pieces I heard for the first time, my particular favourite was Tobias Zeutschner’s “Der Herr gebe euch vom Tau des Himmels” which is impressive from the opening sonata until the end almost nine minutes later. The performances are every bit as impressive as the music itself, and they are beautifully captured in the recording. My only slight criticism of the whole enterprise is the lack of texts and translations of the vocal pieces. Admittedly the booklet is already quite thick (including Polish amongst the languages!), but a better balance between publicity and useful information could surely have been found, or the texts made available online. That said, with singing and playing of this calibre, they could sing nursery rhyme texts and I’d be impressed! Magnificent recording.

Brian Clark

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