Kerll Missa 'Non sine quare'
Johann Caspar Kerll is one of many composers active at the Viennese court to have been influenced by the Italian concertato style of sacred music. This Viennese circle has received increased exposure recently: the names of Sances, Bertali and Christoph Strauss spring to mind. All have had CDs devoted to them in the past couple Bertali and Christoph Strauss spring to mind. All have had CDs devoted to them in the past couple of years. Like them, Kerll was highly thought of in his time, and if his music offers little in the way of originality, it is finely wrought and the thread of his inspiration runs, for the most part, untrammelled. The opening movements of the Mass (especially the Gloria) seem less secure than the latter ones: there is a fine Credo, though, and Kerll does not let the conventions of the genre (the fugal ‘Amens’ in the longer movements, for instance) weigh upon him unduly.
The artists here take the opportunity to substitute motets and purely instrumental pieces for the Propers of the Mass (a procedure well documented during this period). This allows them to show off other facets of Kerll’s music. These other pieces more than make up for the occasional loss of focus in the Mass, and the programme as a whole makes a pleasing impression. One only regrets that more was not included (the 54-minute timing seems short measure). The performances are mostly secure and workmanlike, which is not intended as faint praise. Simply put, those unfamiliar with this byway of the baroque will find it of sufficient interest to overlook the odd insecurity; and those who know the music will not be disappointed, either.'