Velázquez and the music of his time

Choeur de Chambre de Namur, Clematis, Cappella Mediterranea, Syntagma Amici, Ensemble La Romanesca, La Real Camara
Ricercar RIC358
Music by da Cabezón, Cererols, Correa de Arauxo, Fernandez, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Romero, de Selma y Salaverde, Zamponi & anon

This re-issue is aimed primarily at visitors to this year’s blockbuster Velázquez exhibition in Paris. It contains a wide-ranging selection of music from 17th-century Spain, but those with any musical interest in this wonderful period will probably already possess many if not all of the featured items.

There is, of course, some magnificent music and music-making. The fine Choeur de Chambre de Namur feature largely, in the polychoral splendours of Romero and Cererols, and close the disc with a splendidly lightfooted Fernandez Christmas villancico. The lovely Zamponi ‘Ulisse all’Isola di Circe’ was new to me – I’ll be checking out the disc this came from!

The disc also includes solo keyboard music, for harpsichord by Cabezón, and for organ by Correa de Arauxo, well played by Jean-Marc Aymes and Bernard Foccroulle, respectively, and is completed by several secular vocal items, including pieces by Hidalgo and Anon.
A major drawback is the lack of texts; the subtle vocal writing and word-setting is lost without these. To the HIP reader, perhaps best regarded as a useful pointer to delights to be pursued, then, rather than a disc as an end in itself.

Alastair Harper

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