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Early Music

Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Founder Len Mullenger

Joseph-Hector FIOCCO (1703-1741)
Missa Solemnis in D (ed. Patrick Peire) [46:53]
Ave Maria (Motet) [3:48] *
Homo Quidam (Motet) [9:49]*
Greta De Reyghere, Soprano *
Hilde Coppé, Soprano
Jean Nirouët, Alto
Jan Van Elsacker, Tenor
Jan Van der Crabben, Bass
Werner Van Mechelen, Bass
Dirk Snellings, Bass
Capella Brugensis
Collegium Instrumentale Brugense/Patrick Peire
Recorded Sound Recording Centre Steurbaut, Gent, Belgium, January 2001/March 2002
NAXOS 8.557120 [60:30]


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Joseph-Hector Fiocco was the most significant Flemish composer of the High Baroque period. His father, Pietro Antonio Fiocco, was a Venetian composer who settled in Brussels by 1682 and had 14 children by two wives. Naturally, Joseph-Hector received his musical training from his father and also followed his path in obtaining church positions where he was responsible for the musical compositions to be used at services. Although sacred choral music was Joseph-Hector’s primary compositional mode, he did write some unaccompanied harpsichord works dedicated to the Duke of Arenberg which were published in Brussels as his Opus 1.

As with any relatively obscure composer from the High Baroque period, the inevitable comparisons are made with the master composers from the era such as Bach, Handel, Vivaldi and Rameau. Essentially, Fiocco’s works incorporate both French and Italian influences along the lines of the Galant style. Also, Handel’s Italiante style is very much in evidence. Although Fiocco does not attain the magnificent artistry of Handel, his music is expertly constructed, flows beautifully, and is definitely worthy of the attention of baroque music fans.

Concerning the performing artists, Patrick Peire founded the Collegium Instrumentale Brugense about thirty years ago, and the group has made many recordings for various record labels including Fauré’s Requiem on René Gailly and Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice on Forlane. Peire has also been the director of the New Flemish Symphony Orchestra for the past eight years.

Of the vocal soloists, Greta De Reyghere has the singular honors in the Ave Maria and the Homo Quidam as well as contributing to the Missa Solemnis. She is also the most well-known of the singers, having joined the La Petite Band in recordings of Bach Cantatas, Motets, and the Magnificat.

All performing elements are exceptional, and I doubt that alternative forces could place Fiocco in a better light than Peire and his period-instrument group. Recorded sound is also excellent, allowing for much detail of Fiocco’s extensive counterpoint.

I am particularly smitten with the two shorter works which are joyful creations of gusto and wonderful lyricism; Greta De Reyghere’s lovely and expressive voice adds greatly to the listening pleasures as do the pungent strings. Fiocco’s Missa Solemnis is a more serious work encompassing eighteen movements and a wealth of emotional themes. Most appealing are a number of virtuoso trumpet passages that heighten the work’s excitement and regal nature.

Joseph-Hector Fiocco may reside on a side-road of the Baroque repertoire, but Patrick Peire makes a strong case for upgrading him to Main Street. Fiocco’s natural compositional skills, his expert assimilation of the styles of the period, and his knack for blending and contrasting voice with orchestra add up to a highly desirable recording. If you have a warm spot for Handel, you need to make room for Fiocco.

Don Satz

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