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April 2   -   Guardian

Vecchi: Requiem CD review – compelling Antwerp baroque

Graindelavoix/Schmelzer (Glossa)

A well-known name always helps to sell unknown music, and here it is Rubens, at whose funeral in 1640 we might have heard Orazio Vecchi’s Requiem. The score had been printed 28 years earlier, and a direct link is unproven, but both music and singing are compelling. What director Björn Schmelzer calls the “Antwerp baroque” is intense, darkly charged late polyphony performed with a swirling, woozy style using free ornamentation and not totally precise ensemble. The result is a million miles from chaste English choralism. Mass movements by George de la Hèle (a wonderfully sonorous Sanctus), I think unrecorded until now, are a valuable bonus.

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