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Marc’Antonio INGEGNERI (1535/36-1592)
Missa Laudate Pueri Dominum A8 (1573) [27:37]
Giovanni CROCE (1557-1609)
In spiritu humilitatis [5:29]
Choir of Girton College, Cambridge/Gareth Wilson
Historic Brass of the Guildhall School and Royal Welsh College of music and Drama/Jeremy West
rec. 2019, St George’s Chesterton, Cambridge

The music of Marc’Antonio Ingegneri has remained largely unrecorded. This release from Toccata Classics showcases the first known recordings of all but one track which is the only item by another composer, Giovanni Croce. I have been able to locate only one other CD devoted to music by Ingegneri, an elegant recording by the Il Convitto Armonico ensemble on the Tactus label (TC540901). If you can find this, it is well worth investigating.

Ingeneri would probably be utterly forgotten as a composer if not for the fortunate historical fact that he was the music instructor of Claudio Monteverdi. He was born in Verona but served most of his musical life as the maestro di cappella of the Cremona cathedral.  His Bishop, Sfondrati, was eventually to become Pope Gregory IV, but in his earlier years he had been a member of the Council of Trent. The musical directives of that council imposed a structure upon Ingegneri’s music which the booklet discusses in detail. Ingegneri seems to have been close to Sfondrati so he does not appear to have tried to burst out of the confines of the council’s directives for liturgical music.

On listening to the CD, I find that his music has very peaceful quality about it. It struck me immediately that its sound world is rather like Monteverdi’s choral music but with all of the bolder edges and musical risks which Monteverdi took smoothed over into something more homogenous. I find it all to be pleasant, if not truly memorable. The most striking pieces for me are two of the motets, Emendemus in melius and Ecce venit desideratus. In these two tracks in particular, I found the music to sound both ancient and yet somehow modern at the same time. Perhaps he had a little more freedom in the motets than in the mass settings.

The one other item is by Giovanni Croce, a composer who was born in Chioggia and served as the maestro di capella of St Mark’s in Venice. His name has become rather obscured by the great success of his contemporary Giovanni Gabrielli. The short motet is still in use today but in a different version, according to the notes.

The Choir of Girton College, Cambridge perform admirably under their leader Gareth Wilson. They are joined on this recording by the Historic Brass of the Guildhall School and Royal Welsh College of music and Drama under their leader Jeremy West. The practice of adding brass and organ to the choral music was done at the cathedral during Ingegneri’s day.  The sound they bring to this welcome recording adds immeasurably to a pleasant Sunday morning’s listening.

Mike Parr

1 Cantate et psallite (a12) 4:58
Missa Laudate pueri Dominum (a8) 27:30
2 I Kyrie 5:18
3 Emendemus in melius (a12) 5:59
Missa Laudate pueri Dominum (cont.)
4 II Gloria 4:48
5 Adoramus te Christe (a8) 3:55
Missa Laudate pueri Dominum (cont.)
6 III Credo 8:41
7 Spess’ in parte (organ) 1:55
8 Ecce venit desideratus (a12) 4:50
Missa Laudate pueri Dominum (cont.)
9 IV Sanctus – Benedictus 4:28
10 Lydia miri Narciso (organ) 1:29
Missa Laudate pueri Dominum (cont.)
11 V Agnus Dei 4:15
12 O sacrum convivium (a8) 3:41
13 Quae est ista (a5) 2:23
14 Surge propera (a5) 2:28
15 Vidi speciosam (a16) 5:25
Giovanni Croce
16 In spiritu humilitatis (a8)* 5:29

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