MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2023
Approaching 60,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             


Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Buy through MusicWeb
for £11.50 postage paid World-wide.

Musicweb Purchase button


Claudio MERULO (1533-1604)
Missa Virginis Mariae ‘In Annutiatione Domini’: (Toccata Seconda del V Tono [7.02]; Voltum tuum (chant) [2.56]; Kyrie- alternatim [5.32]; Gloria-alternatim [16.10]; Tollite portas (Chant) [5.24]; Toccata Ottava [3.53]; Diffusa est gratis (Alleluja) [3.06]; Ave Maria [2.33]; Sanctus-alternatim [3.42]; Agnus dei –alternatim [3.52]; Ecce Virgo (Chant) [2,32]; Toccata Primo del V Tono [5.46])
Roberto Loreggian (organ); Schola Gregoriana “Scriptoria”/Dom Nicola M.Bellinazzo
rec. 12-15 October 2000, Chiesa di Caterina, Treviso, Chiesa St.Margherita, Capri, Villa Bartolomea
TACTUS TC 533801 [62.08]

Experience Classicsonline

Claudio Merulo can be thought of as the missing link between Adrian Willaert, who started the concept of the ‘cori–spezzati’ in the early sixteenth century, and the later Gabrielis and indeed Monteverdi. They all worked at St. Mark’s in Venice. Merulo was an organist and was born near Parma in Northern Italy. He returned there at the end of his life for a few years in Mantua. The CD booklet essay by Marco Reperto has its dates in a twist but Merulo was in Venice from 1567 until 1586.
This work is an Organ Mass, a developing form at the time. Its antecedents go back a long way. The monasteries of the dark ages would sing the psalter each day and would do so ‘in alternatim’ each side taking a verse, what is now Decani and Cantoris. The idea then developed, as can be found in the Faenza Codex of the 13th Century, of alternating a vocal plainchant verse with an instrumental. This was almost certainly organ verse which plainsong as its base and above it an elaborately woven counterpoint. By Tudor times the English composers, say Blitheman and Redford, were continuing this practice. During that century it continued throughout Europe as can be heard here. Later composers such as François Couperin took up the format and it continued until it was banned as a form of Mass celebration in an encyclical of Pope Pius X in 1903.
The organ mass used here is the so-called ‘Cum jubilo” named after part of the trope in the Kyrie Eleison section. It is also called “Messe della Madonna”. It was used on feast days of Our Lady. You can find the appropriate chants in the Graduale Romanum, the Kyriale is numbered IX (page 789 in my standard edition). The texts in the booklet are given but not translated; even so it is clear from the given Latin how the pattern is formed. Take the Gloria. Gloria in Excelsis deo –intonation; Et in Terra pax hominibus ... solo organ; Laudamus Te – voices in plainchant; Benedicamus te - Organ solo; Adoramus te - voices and so on. The organ interludes may use the plainchant as a tenor around which a counterpoint is ornamented or it may use the chant or part of it as a fugal point and then move away and develop out from it. It was this practice which, as it became even more remote from its original melody, especially annoyed the church fathers. Interspersed with the Mass are various other plainchants suitable for such a feast. These include ‘Tollite portas’ (associated with Advent) and an ‘Ave Maria’ as well as Toccatas taken from Merulo’s printed collections. There’s also one dating from 1604; it supplies the opening, exciting Toccata Seconda del V tono which builds in excitement through its seven minutes. Toccatas are free-wheeling, improvisatory pieces which might consist of chords in one hand whilst the other decorates the harmony with semiquavers and octave leaps. Alternatively they may have imitative, contrapuntal sections. They may be based on chants or quite free of them.
The organ specification (built in 1998) is given but its description - which is quite detailed - has not been translated from the Italian. Two recording venues are offered as listed above, one probably for the chant and one for the organ sections. I cannot discover from the Italian text which is which.
Roberto Loreggian is an exceptionally fine player. His biography has not been translated but his excellent website shows the various discs he has recorded. There he features as organist and as harpsichordist for Tactus, Brilliant Classics and Chandos.
The booklet has a black and white photo of the cassocked male singers called the ‘Schola Gregorian’. Their plainsong singing is immaculate in both diction and intonation. They are set back a little. The organ is quite forward and therefore louder.
This disc offers an interesting insight into a species of sacred music which is rarely if ever encountered in the flesh.

Gary Higginson


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing




Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Past and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.