Paul McCreesh and the Gabrieli Consort and Players have become famous for their recreations of the great liturgical set pieces of the Venetian 16th and early 17th centuries. These recordings made by Deutsche Grammophon in the 1990s are state of the art and were critically acclaimed. In this 5Cd set we are taken back to St Mark’s Basilica, the most important church in the city-state, and the Confraternity of San Rocco, for which Giovanni Gabrieli and his colleague the falsetto Bartolemeo Barbarino composed remarkable collection of instrumental and vocal music. This recording includes wide range of Gabrieli’s work, from intimate motets, to the reconstructed glory of the 33 part Magnificat On CDs 1 and 2 we are in St Mark’s at Easter time in 1600. The smell of incense hangs in the chill air of the basilica and the huge building resonates with sound of voices – the service has begun. The central work is the Missa Congratulamini mihi by Lassus. As was customary, the Credo has been omitted, and substituted with non-liturgical vocal works by composers such as Giovanni and Alessandro Gabrieli, Bendinelli, and Merulo. Organ toccatas, Sacrae symphonea and other vocal works are placed between the movements of the Mass. The Venetian Vespers on CDs 3 and 4 again draws on music from a variety of composers as services such as the vespers at this time were often made up of movements of Mass and Vespers settings by different composers. The composer of the most famous setting of the Vespers, Claudio Monteverdi features here with his Messa et salmi, alongside Banchieri, Cavalli, and Giovanni Gabrieli.
Gramophone reviewing Music for San Rocco said ‘It is hard to imagine this fine recording of Gabrieli’s music being superseded for some time to come. For the sheer splendour of the music, and the excellence of the performances, this recording is a must, a real five-star achievement’. January 1997
Venetian Vespers Gramophone review ‘Among the performers there is a feeling of common enterprise that is hard to describe, but which sets this record apart from so many others where the overall impression is of a sequence of unrelated pieces given a disjointed series of separate performances…. There is some carefully thought out and gracefully shaped instrumental playing…. In short this is an heroic achievement of the highest possible order’. June 1993
Venetian Easter Mass, Gramophone review. ‘The impact is tremendous in some items…as usual, the singing and playing are of a high order..’ July 1997
“Not Monteverdi's Vespers, but three other reconstructions (Venetian Vespers, Easter Mass, and a San Rocco concert) are combined in this excellent bargain set.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2009 ****