GIACHES DE WERT - Divine Theatre

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GIACHES DE WERT - Divine Theatre - Sacred Motets - Stile Antico - 3149020762066 - Released: February 2017 - Harmonia Mundi 807620

Here is yet another glaring example of a composer unjustly ignored by the recording industry and almost never mentioned when discussing Renaissance music. He was a Flemish composer born in 1535, who lived most of his adult life in Italy, where he built a reputation for being a great madrigalist. He lived during the same period as William Byrd and Tomas Tallis, but never, to this day, gained the same level of recognition. For example, there are about 10 recordings available at this time that feature some of his music, compared to Byrd that boasts more like 480 whilst the tally for Tallis sits at around 275. Quite a discrepancy when, in my opinion, I consider Giaches de Wert's writing to match, if not at times even eclipse, the great Renaissance composers of his time. Like Nicolas Gombert and Gesualdo, there is an adventurous streak that runs through his music, as if he couldn't wait to try some new interval or harmonic combination everytime he composed a new vocal work, be it sacred or profane.

All of Stile Antico's dozen or so previous recordings come highly recommended, and they've long held a reputation for being one of the best vocal ensembles specializing in music from this period. Their voicing, balance, dynamics and intonation are flawless on this one. Hopefully, with this new recording, their reputation will spill over and enhance de Wert's standing within his peers and capture the attention of a whole new league of Renaissance vocal music fans.

The video below of Stile Antico singing the music of William Byrd is a great example of their high standards.

Jean-Yves Duperron - January 2017