Cazzati: Mass & Psalms op. 36

From Bologna to Beromünster
Voces Suaves, Francesco Saverio Pedrini
Claves Records 50-1605
+two intonations by Sebastian Anton Scherer

[dropcap]E[/dropcap]ver since I became interested in 17th-century music the name of Maurizio Cazzati has been a familiar one, but I have never actually heard any; the present recording, which presents the Kyrie, Gloria and Credo printed in the composer’s op. 36 set of 1655 as a Messa Concertata  (without Sanctus or Agnus Dei) and two psalms (of the five printed) and the Magnificat. The original also includes a setting of Domine ad adiuvandum. All of the vocal music is scored for five voices (two sopranos), four instruments (rather unusually for the period a single “alto viola” joins the two violins) and three ripieno voices with continuo. Some of the other pieces in the print call for fewer voices, or no concertato instruments. A bassoon is included on the basis that some northern reprints of the publication included such a part. In order to show of the sound of the original organ in the church where the very fine recording was made (in Beromünster, which explains the CD’s sub-title…), two short pieces were added by the south German composer, Sebastian Anton Scherer. The music is glorious and gracious for the voices; the singers blend well, and the violinists especially have fun ornamenting Cazzati’s flowing lines, especially in triple time passages. I sincerely hope the same forces will now tackle the remainder of the print, as there is still plenty of fine music waiting to be heard!

Brian Clark

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