Very typical is the opening Concerto for two mandolins RV when you listen to their former selves, the recording is, in the outer movements, firmly anchored in those interpretive traditions of the s, a bit too trudging, a bit too thick, a bit to solemn.
In the new recording tempos are more sprightly — there is no significant difference compared to Pinnock or The Parley of Instruments — and there is no thickness or heaviness in the textures. And while the earlier slow movement was already very beautiful, in the new version the two mandolinists have added wonderful ornamentation in the repeats.
And these observations can be extended to the two other works shared between make and remake. But a very nice touch — already present in — is to have the mandolin trill all his notes in the middle Andante.
Vivaldi indicates nothing of the sort, but in other versions, when the mandolin just plucks his notes, as they are playing in unisono with the violins, they can hardly be heard. In the tempo is slightly more animated and the expression less overtly sentimental than in When it was published in by composer Michel Corrette, his own instrumental Carillon des morts was added, and it has become traditional to perform the two works back to back.
It should be noted, however, that Corrette's version of Gilles's Requiem preserves the publisher's own inflated orchestration. Herreweghe has trimmed Corrette's fat away to leave a lean and lithe work that must be quite close to what Gilles would have heard, had he lived to hear his Requiem! Shades of Mozart, almost a hundred years later.
Most Requiems are, forgive the phrase, grave affairs. Gilles's Requiem, however, dances along much of the time. It is quite a cheerful work, more appropriate for listeners or the dead!
There are many solos for the vocalists — again, more operatic than solemn and devout — and if the chorus lends a more serious tone to the proceedings with excellent 17 th -century counterpoint, Gilles's Requiem brings us to the edge of the grave with a smile on our lips and a spring in our step.
The Carillon des morts , as its name suggests, is imitative of bells — not just those that would have been played at a funeral, though. Corrette also seems unwilling to don the black crepe. This recording, taped in Ghent, paired Herreweghe who has become very well-known in the meantime with MAK and Goebel — a combination never seen before and never repeated since, as far as I know.
MAK is less suited to the French style, but they still play with spirit and authenticity. Herreweghe's reputation as a fine choral director is maintained here, and the soloists are pure-toned.
A touch more theatricality would not have been amiss. This CD is a direct transfer from the original LP — it is a little short for a reissue! David Munrow's collection of Music of the Gothic Era , recorded back in , was hailed upon its release not only for its historical value, but also for the imagination that Munrow and his colleagues showed in realizing manuscripts that often are as open-ended as they are ancient. Munrow was a scholar, but he was anything but a dusty person, and his death not much later at the age of thirty-four was a major disaster for the Early Music field.
Many still mourn him today. The original set of three LPs has been neatly reduced to two CDs. The latter's "Viderunt omnes" and "Sederunt principes" is music that has been recorded more and more since Munrow did so, and from almost as many perspectives, but Munrow's realizations remain fresh and viable, probably because he eschewed the excesses and gimmicks later performers have imposed.
Because in came Il Giardino Armonico on Teldec , and they sent the interpretation of these works in another dimension, with more energy, more enthusiasm, more liveliness and joyfulness, more poetic imagination in the phrasings, more sonic presence, more everything, making all the previous versions, even those on period-instruments, more or less obsolete. About this, see my review. For all those reasons, this one is of no more than archaeological interest.
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