Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Music Webmaster
Len Mullenger:

Ave Maria/ Missa de Oliveria
A sei Voci/Bernard Fabre-Garrus
Astrée Naïve E 8806 [66 mins] (PGW)

'We find ourselves at one of the sources of Western Baroque music', is the proud claim of the researcher Jean-Charles Léon, who introduces the unknown music of Pietro-Paolo Bencini (c. 1675-1755), maestro di cappella at St Peter's, Rome. These first recordings were made from the original parts preserved in the Vatican Apostolic Library. The music is in four parts, treated polychorally, four solo voices doubled with a second choir (singing the same music) for nuances and emphasis as determined by the text.

I confirm the claim made that this is high quality music from the early 18th Century, with fine fugues, not dissimilar to some of Bach's. The singers are fresh voiced and unaffected, and supported by organ, theorbo and violone to good effect. The acoustic of the Chapelle du Bob Pasteur in Angers is resonant and appropriate and the recording (May 2000) entirely satisfactory. The booklet is pleasing to the eye and good to handle, as is general in this series, with essays and texts well translated; a careful and recommendable production for explorers of baroque byways.

Peter Grahame Woolf

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