Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Founder Len Mullenger:

Tento do 8o tom * [4.49]
Hino "Ave Maris Stella" */*** [18.30]
Versos de Magnificat */**/*** [8.50]
Tento do 4o tom * [7.37]
Versos de Kirios * [8.45]
* Rui Paiva/organ
** Mário Marques/countertenor
*** Schola Cantorum Lusitana
rec: December 1987.
STRAUSS CD SP 4183 [47.40]


Manuel Rodriques Coelho, organist at the Chapel Royal in Lisbon from 1604 until his retirement in 1633, was the author of the earliest printed collection of instrumental music in Portugal, the Flores de Musica. This disc contains a selection of works from that collection.

Coelho's music is an interesting combination of "classical" pre-baroque organ music with some surprising harmonies and dissonances. The five works on this disc are rich and varied organ works, with some vocal accompaniment, either a single voice or polyphonic singing.

The two Tentos are works for organ only, and are indicative of the style of their time. This is pre-baroque organ music, where there is little ornamentation, and music is meant more for meditation than any other reason. This music is relatively simple, and the performance adds little interest, being somewhat flat and metronomic.

The hymn, Ave Maria Stella, contains alternate sections of organ music with polyphonic vocal music, singing the text to the hymn. This is an ancient practice of the Roman Catholic Church, and, according to the notes, liturgical books and treatises on Plainsong were examined to establish "a version that melodically and rhythmically would be in keeping with contemporary practice."

The Versos de Magnificat is a declamation sung by countertenor with an organ accompaniment. This is punctuated with polyphonic vocal passages as well, and countertenor Marques' voice has an interesting vibrato that gives this music a unique sound.

The Versos de Kirios, like the Magnificat, was performed as part of the mass, and features the same alternating organ and vocal sections.

This disc is somewhat interesting for the "reconstruction" of the works including organ and vocals, but lacks emotion. The organ recordings are fine, but the vocal polyphony sounds weak and there is little texture. Countertenor Marques has an interesting voice, but, unfortunately, has only a limited role in this recording.


Kirk McElhearn


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