This disc is representative of a lost generation of composers whose wonderfully
inventive music lies forgotten only to be resurrected recently to great critical
acclaim. Antonio Lotti held positions of importance during his lifetime and
there is no doubt that he was highly regarded in important European musical
circles such as Leipzig and Venice. There however the details end as no records
have survived to clarify Lotti's achievements and work during his life. What
is definite is that his work was outstandingly proficient and highly innovative
as this heavenly Requiem demonstrates.
In it Lotti employs the usual traditionalist Baroque techniques but the way
the voices are projected is uncanny and way ahead of its time. The Dies Irae
contains some powerful declamations especially in the 'Confutatis maledictis'
and the beautifully alive 'Liber scriptus'. All is powerfully handled by
the Balthasar Neumann Choir and Ensemble under the able hands of Thomas
Hengelbrock who directs with commitment and passion throughout. The
instrumentalisation in the Requiem is quite disarming with rapturous solos
here and there adding concertante and ripieno effects, striking harmonic
ambience and shattering drama in the concluding pages.
Hengelbrock also finds room for the short but striking 'Miserere', a beautiful
study in sustained harmonics and the longer Credo, a spellbinding combination
of dissonanaces superbly performed by the choir. All three works demand a
special place in the sacred repertoire and I can think of no better advocate
to this marvelous music than Thomas Hengelbrock and his outstanding Balthasar
Neumann Ensemble and Choir. The conductor also writes the short notes which
espouse on the legend and curriculum of Lotti's life work. Almost like an
Atlantis of baroque music this Requiem should open the gates so let's hope
that more Lotti will resurface in the years to come.