Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Gabrieli, Andrea & Giovanni. A new Venetian Coronation. (1595)

New acquisition.
Bought in 2017.
First listen: 10-5-2017.
Label: Signum.
Recording dates: February/March 2012.
Recording venue: Douai Abbey, Berkshire, England.
Recording engineer: Neil Hutchinson.
Running time: 73:55.
Relevance to me: Worthwhile.

Works performed:
See heading

Performed by:
Gabrieli Consort & Players, Paul McCreesh.

Organs prepared by Malcolm Greenhalgh. (A440 meantone)

On the one side I am elated by this project. A coronation mass for the Doge of Venezia is rather special, but strictly not a religious event, although many of the rituals have the appearance of it. Be it as it may, many aspects of this recording appealed hugely to me. The Procession with the bells, the intrada by Hans Leo Hassler, the trumpet sonata by Cesare Bendinelli, all amazing and hugely impressive. The organ pieces by Bendinelli and Andrea & Giovanni Gabrieli are awesome pieces with much gravitas. What in the end worried me a bit, is that I did not warm to it, none of it. Doubling the voices up with instruments blew the volume and dynamics up to a point that I did not like the effect. A more intimate dynamic would have been preferable by me. The increasing volume to voices and instruments bothered me too. The acoustic also played a part in feeling distanced from the music, especially when the Gregorian chant started doing their part. The Organs sounded fine though and close enough to engender some warmth. The choir with 16 voices had an overpowering effect, coupled with a 38 strong orchestra, it proved too much for me. Loved the organs and how they were recorded. Recording is detailed, but it blurs quickly if the volume increases in both choir and players. In those instances the sound starts swimming around the Abbey. So although I like the project a lot, the pomp and circumstance proves too much for me.
The presentation of the booklet is exemplary, but I found the interview with Catherine Bott versus Paul McCreesh a bit infantile.
Approach with caution.




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