Iberian Organ & Choral Music from the Golden Age
Martin Neu (organ of San Hipólito, Córdoba), ensemble officium, Wilfried Rombach
Music by de Arauzo, Coelho & Zaraba
Our two reviewers are in broad agreement:
This CD of freely composed works and diminutions of originals is performed by Martin Neu on the 1735 Corchado organ of the San Hipólito Church in Córdoba. This instrument was recently dismantled and completely rebuilt, restoring its original tuning and temperament but preserving most of the original pipework, so it is able to produce some startlingly original timbres to enhance the music of 17th- and 18th-century Spanish composers Diego Xaraba, Manuel Rodrigues Coelho and Francisco Correa de Arauxo. Drafting in the ensemble officium to provide vocal alternatims allows Neu to present some of the music in a liturgical context, although the CD’s promise of Organ and Choral Music from the Golden Age is a little disingenuous as the singers only supply plainchant and two short sections of albeit beautiful polyphony. The highlight for me was Arauxo’s Tiento on Morales’ Batalla, a work which has been unfortunately lost. Neu makes fabulous use of the venerable instrument’s trumpet stops to evoke the full excitement of the 17th-century battlefield.
D. James Ross
The real star of this fine recording is the magnificent 18c organ of the church of San Hipólito, Córdoba, dating originally from 1735 and superbly restored, using most of its original pipework, in 2006-7. Martin Neu puts it through its paces in a well-chosen selection of 17th- and early 18th-century music by Correa de Arauxo (of Seville) and Rodrigues Coelho (of Lisbon), along with an anonymous Tiento from a manuscript in Madrid. This latter opens the disc in fine style, with blazing Trompetas Reales much in evidence. Neu is joined by ensemble officium in two alternatim pieces by Coelho, a gentle Tone 1 ‘Versos de Kyrie’ with schola singing the ‘Cunctipotens genitor Deus’ chant, and a more extended setting of the well-known ‘Ave Maris Stella’ hymn, both showing the intimate relationship of organ and voices in ‘ordinary’ service music of the period. Ensemble officium also provide attractive fauxburdon-like verses of the Marian hymn ‘Todo el mundo en general’ contrasting with Correa de Arauxo’s Tres Glosas. The disc concludes with Arauxo’s lively ‘Tiento Tercero de Sexto Tono’, based on a (lost) Batalla by Morales, itself based on Jannequin’s famous chanson, giving the wonderful reed stops another moment of glory. Most enjoyable.