BERNARDI Lux Aeterna. Ein Salzburger Requiem

Record and Artist Details

Genre:

Vocal

Label: Arcana

Media Format: CD or Download

Mastering:

DDD

Catalogue Number: A470

A470. BERNARDI Lux Aeterna. Ein Salzburger Requiem

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
Sinfonia terza concertata Voces Suaves
Concerto Scirocco
Missa pro defunctis Voces Suaves
Concerto Scirocco
Sinfonia Quarta Concertata Concerto Scirocco
Voces Suaves
Ad te, Domine, levavi animam meam Concerto Scirocco
Voces Suaves
Sinfonia seconda concertata Concerto Scirocco
Voces Suaves
Letanie a 4 concertate Voces Suaves
Concerto Scirocco
De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine Concerto Scirocco
Voces Suaves

Stefano Bernardi (c1577-1637) held eminent musical posts in his native Verona but for about a decade he was the first Kapellmeister at the new cathedral in Salzburg (consecrated 1628). Choirbooks in its archives contain a large-scale Missa pro defunctis for six voices (1629), and this ‘Salzburg Requiem’ is imbued with captivating beauty by Voces Suaves (10 singers and theorbo) and Concerto Scirocco (violin, viola da brazzo, cornett, three sackbuts, dulcian, violone and organ). The Swiss-based ensembles comprise international alumni of the prestigious Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, and the collective perform flawlessly without a director.

Finely judged sonorities, clarity of detail and flawless eloquence bespeak intelligently balanced musicianship. Much of the Requiem is softly penitent (the Introitus and Kyrie), with a few moments of bold declamatory vigour in the Sequentia (‘Dies irae’ and ‘Lacrymosa’ enriched with the full instrumental complement) alternating with reduced soloistic passages (such as ethereal sopranos accompanied only by organ in ‘Oro supplex et acclinis’) and sections of plainchant (sung sweetly by the tenors). The suspension-laden Sanctus has close intimacy between precise voices and their plangent doubling instruments. It is a clever touch that Arcana’s cover image is Ignazio Solari’s painting Burial of Christ (c1625 30) in Salzburg Cathedral’s presbytery, and there is also an essay by the cathedral’s music collection librarian Eva Neumayr that sets Bernardi’s Requiem into the context of musical culture in early 17th-century Salzburg.

Much more overtly modern-style concertato writing is displayed in Bernardi’s eight-part offertory motet Ad te, Domine, levavi animam meam (Salzburg, 1630), and a range of pieces all published in Venice: there is elaborately florid writing for four solo singers in a Rosary litany (1626), polychoral richness juxtaposing every available ingredient in the psalm De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine (1624), and three sinfonias from Concerti academici, Op 8 (1615 16) give the full complement of Concerto Scirocco scope to flex their muscles. As with their groundbreaking album of music by the Venetian Giovanni Croce (Arcana, 2017), the endeavours of these gifted musicians unveil another intriguing composer whose works have hardly made a dent in the discography until now.

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