> ZIPOLI Vespers of St Ignacio [PW]: Classical Reviews- February 2002 MusicWeb-International

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Domenico ZIPOLI
Vespers of St Ignacio

1. Deus in adjutorium 2’08"
2. Antiphon: Domine quinque 3’59"
Psalm: Dixit Dominus
3. Antiphon: Euge serve 10’11"
Psalm: Confitebor tibi Domine
4. Antiphon: Fidelis servus 11’41"
Psalm: Beatus Vir
5. Antiphon: Beatus ille servus 9’08"
Psalm: Laudate pueri dominum (anon)
6. Antiphon: Serve bone 4’18"
Psalm: Laudate Dominum (Martin Schmid?)
7. Hymn: Iste confessor (Martin Schmid?) 1’28"
8. Antiphon: Hic vir (Plainchant) 3’50"
Canticle: Magnificat
9. Pastoreta: Ichepe flauta (Martin Schmid?) 3’48"
10. Te Deum laudamus 4’50"
Ensemble Elyma
Coro de Niños de Córdoba (Argentine)
Directed by Gabriel Garrido
Recordings made in L’église de Saint-Pierre aux Nonnains (Metz); 27-29 November 1992
K617 ‘LES RÉFÉRENCES’ K617FC4 [55.35]


Experience Classicsonline

In the first days of the ‘early music revival’ recording was all about bringing revelatory performing styles to well known music. The format later switched to show an emphasis on complete recordings, or on first recordings of music by obscure figures. This lead to a situation whereby obscurity was often seen as being more important than quality. With this recording something of the early format is regained. Domenico Zipoli is certainly obscure, but why his music has been allowed to become obscure is a real question. The quality of Zipoli’s compositions is outstanding. Maybe the fact that he spent his career in Paraguay as musical director to the Jesuit missionaries, didn’t help his reputation in Europe. However, the manuscripts of much of his music have been preserved in Bolivia and Paraguay and this reconstruction by Bernardo Illari brings to light music that is full of vigour, charm and imagination.

The performances by Gabriel Garrido’s Ensemble Elyma show that it is not only in Europe that good things are happening in early music. This South American group performs with polish and energy and blends voices and instruments with sensitivity. The use of bassoon continuo is particularly charming and really does blend with the voices. Likewise the occasional addition of a large drum played with a real sense of panache creates a splendid image. The somewhat insufficient booklet notes spend one of the three paragraphs discussing the use of "bajunes" - Pan Flutes made from the dried leaves of the ‘cusi’ palm tree. However, the performance seems to use recorders instead. They are finely played and add much colour, but are we meant to believe this to be the sound of pan-flutes? How fascinating if they were, but it doesn’t sound like it to this listener. (Sample 1) The booklet also does not explain who Martin Schmid was, or why some parts of this work might be by him. If they are, he is just as much of a master as Zipoli.

The singing is uniformly good from the adults of Ensemble Elyma, the sopranos Adriana Fernandez and Silvia Perez being particularly fine. There is a quality of timbre here that marks out the specialist soprano voice, and this is underlined by the sensitive rubato and shaping of the phrases and the range of the dynamic palette. (Sample 2). The drawback is in the children of the Coro de Niños de Córdoba. Using children’s choirs is always a risk, for they will not, obviously, have the same level of experience on which to draw as will adult singers. This is an area where the UK, with its long tradition of boys in Cathedral and Collegiate choirs, is fortunate. The Coro de Niños de Córdoba make a good noise in some places, and a pretty awful noise in others. When the children become nasal and lose their sense of the vowel, the noise is most unpleasant. Unfortunately they can also change from a nasal sound to a beautiful one in consecutive phrases. (Sample 3) This lack of consistency is not a problem with the other aspects of this disc and the music itself is infectious. Apart from the children, this disc bears repeated listening and is well worth having.

Peter Wells


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