Giovanni Gabrieli, Heinrich Schutz: Polychoral Splendour Jan16

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Album at a Glance

Tonal and Consonant iconPeriod Instruments IconChoir choral icon
Audite Record Label - Audite: “All aspirations towards quality always have one aim: to create the basis for a musical and emotional experience in its best possible form, to make music of the highest quality available as a personal, creative listening experience.”
Release date: 2012-08-28


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Polychoral Splendour from the four galleries of the Abbey Church of Muri


The works of Giovanni Gabrieli and Heinrich Schütz on this Audite SACD embody an important historical step toward the emancipation of instrumental music from vocal models during a time of change from Renaissance to Baroque.

The title of the album is “Polychoral Splendour”, and all of the music here would have been written to be performed in a space that could accommodate the physical separation of “choirs” of either instruments or voices. This was what defined the polychoral technique. Various choirs sing or play in alternation, in different combinations, or all at once for magnificent culminations of sound. The effect is glorious, especially when performed in the ideal space, which is a church with multiple choir lofts. This is what we have here, “from the four galleries of the Abbey Church of Muri”.

The Gabrieli selections are predominantly drawn from his Sacrae Symphoniae, and are all for choirs of instruments only. Those by Schütz are all written for combinations of vocal and instrumental choirs. Works on the CD are arranged alternating between the two composers – each Schütz vocal number followed by a Gabrieli instrumental one. It’s programming that works very well. Splendid performances are provided by the vocal ensemble Cappella Murensis and Les Cornets Noirs, an instrumental ensemble made up of brass, strings, and organ.

Four microphones were used to record the album and Audite was very successful at capturing the live acoustic of the church while keeping the sound of the performing forces crisp and clear. As with other recordings of this kind from Audite, the sonics are all that you could ask for. This is a Hybrid Multichannel SDCD, playable on all SACD and CD players.

Following is a YouTube sample with the same performing forces as are on this disc.