Vecchi: Requiem – Rubens's Funeral & The Antwerp
Graindelavoix; Schmelzer, Björn
For his latest Glossa release with Graindelavoix, Björn Schmelzer takes his lead from the funeral rites for the Flemish Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens in 1640 – which might well have encompassed the Requiem Mass by Orazio Vecchi as recorded here – to demonstrate the coexistence in Baroque Antwerp of two apparently contradictory, but interconnected facets. One of these facets was the continuing presence of prima prattica polyphony; the city was a major centre for music printing and Vecchi’s Requiem was brought out there – as were works by other composers represented on this disc: George de La Hèle, Duarte Lobo and Pedro Ruimonte (the recording ends with three successive Agnus Deis!). The other facet is that of the image of Rubens’s art: full of energy, seductive, optimistic and scintillating. The Northern Baroque par excellence. With his recording, Schmelzer encourages the listener to enter into this strange world of artistic clashes and ruptures – not least the fact that Vecchi, a composer better known for his secular music popular in Venice, would have had his stile antico sacred music performed in Antwerp. This is achieved with Graindelavoix’s customary uncompromising – and clearly provocative – vocal sound, complete with both artfully-executed ornamentations and attention to ensemble needs.