Mottetti e Canzoni Virtuose

Mottetti e Canzoni Virtuose
La Guilde des Mercenaires, Adrien Mabire
L’encelade  ECL1703. 66’36

The principal interest in this 2018 recording of virtuoso Venetian music is in the choice of organ as accompanying instrument. Most of the programme notes are about the use of the organ in the 16th and 17th century, and its prominence in the repertoire of the time. The important thing, and the factor that sets this recording way above most others of a similar repertoire, is that they use a full-sized ‘church’ organ, rather than those weedy little box ‘continuo’ organ that are nearly always used by early music groups.

The choice of organ is also interesting, the financial and practical implications of recording on, for example, the famous organs in San Petronio Bologna making other choices inevitable. They chose a new organ built in 2012, by Aurélion Delage and Guillaume Robinguet Sudre in the Abbey of Saint-Amant do Boixe in south-west France. It is based on the 1511/1555 Koblenz organ in the Sint-Laurens church of Alkmaar, in The Netherlands. Although very obviously not an Italian Renaissance organ, the sound produced by the lead pipes is not far removed from the Venetian organ aesthetic, and works extremely well against the wind instruments: cornetto, mute cornet, bombardino, bassoons, and flutes. It is tuned in a meantone temperament .

The music is by Palestrina, di Lasso, Bertoli, Castello, Cima, Fontana, Marini, Riccio, Rore, Tartaglino, Valentini. The arrangements for the instruments and voice are well-judged. I was particularly impressed with the singing of soprano Violaine Le Chenadec, her pure, almost boyishly clear voice providing the perfect foil to the very vocal sound of the cornetto and organ, the latter played beautifully by Jean-Luc Ho.

The members of La Guilde des Mercenaires are Violaine Le Chenadec , canto, Elsa Franck, bombardine and flute, Jérémie Papasergio, bassoon and flute, Guillaume Rebinguet-Sudre, violin, Jean-Luc Ho, organ, and
Adrien Mabire, cornet, flute and artistic coordination.  

A more detailed description of the recording, and a couple of examples can be found here.