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Paul Van Nevel, Huelgas Ensemble - Costanzo Festa: La Spagna - 32 Contrapunti (2015)

Posted By: ArlegZ
Paul Van Nevel, Huelgas Ensemble - Costanzo Festa: La Spagna - 32 Contrapunti (2015)

Paul Van Nevel, Huelgas Ensemble - Costanzo Festa: La Spagna - 32 Contrapunti (2015)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 240 Mb | Total time: 52:26 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Harmonia Mundi | # HMA 1951799 | Recorded: 2002

While this first recording of 32 of Costanzo Festa’s 125 variations on the popular cantus firmus melody La Spagna is expertly performed and sounds terrific, this definitely is a disc that will appeal primarily to specialists and other devotees of 16th-century instrumental music. Listeners who appreciate such things will be fascinated with Festa’s imaginative and highly skilled treatment of the 37-note “theme”, which he preserves intact throughout each of his contrapunti, which employ varying numbers of parts, from three to 11. The latter, Contrapunto 125, which is “the last variation of the manuscript”, is grand and richly harmonious and Paul Van Nevel’s choice of instruments fully exploits these attributes. Another, the four-voice Contrapunto 88, assigns each part a different note-value, from double-whole-notes (the cantus firmus) to quarter-notes. The effect is truly unusual–a rather chaotic 54 seconds, or as Van Nevel accurately describes, it creates “a decidedly bizarre sound picture”.
Director Van Nevel assigns two different sets of ensembles–one “whole” and one “broken” consort–to alternate variations (most of which last less than two minutes), so our ears are treated to a welcome mix of mellow and reedy winds, cornets and sackbuts, and viols. Although the notes say otherwise, there’s also a surprise (and stunning) addition of voices (singing, that is) in the five-part Contrapunto 104.
Although this unique masterpiece–it’s the largest-scale work of its type from the Renaissance–was never published, references to its existence and misrepresentations of its contents appeared throughout the centuries since it was composed. And while comparisons of Festa’s work with Bach’s Musical Offering or Goldberg Variations may be something of a stretch on almost any level, there’s no doubt as to the impressive fertility of ideas and facility of execution evidenced in this well-chosen and skillfully ordered program. Van Nevel’s notes are expert and succinct, giving us just enough information to place the music in context–and the excellent performances do the rest. Incidentally, I listened to this hybrid SACD on a standard CD player, and although it was a little “edgy” in the treble at higher volume, the fullness of the sound and natural, vibrant quality to the instrumental timbres won me over.
–David Vernier

Performer:
Huelgas Ensemble
Paul Van Nevel, director

Track List:
Costanzo Festa (c1485/90-1545)
01. Contrapunto 46 à 4. Cantus firmus au ténor
02. Contrapunto 41 à 4. Cantus firmus à la troisième voix
03. Contrapunto 105 à 5. Cantus firmus à la quatrième voix
04. Contrapunto 101 à 4, Cantus Firmus à la troisième voix
05. Contrapunto 88 à 4, Cantus firmus à troisième voix
06. Contrapunto 76 à 4, Cantus firmus à la troisième voix
07. Contrapunto 124 à 8, Cantus firmus à la sixième voix
08. Contrapunto 81 à 4, Cantus firmus à la deuxième voix
09. Contrapunto 60 à 4, Cantus firmus à la première voix
10. Contrapunto 77 à 4, Cantus firmus à la troisième voix
11. Contrapunto 122 à 7, Cantus firmus à la cinquième voix
12. Contrapunto 25 à 4, Cantus firmus à la troisième voix
13. Contrapunto 118 à 5, Cantus firmus à la quatrième voix
14. Contrapunto 47 à 4, Cantus firmus à la troisième voix
15. Contrapunto 35 à 4, Cantus firmus à la troisième voix
16. Contrapunto 40 à 4, Cantus firmus à la quatrième voix
17. Contrapunto 8 à 3, Cantus firmus à la quatrième voix
18. Contrapunto 14 à 3, Cantus firmus à la troisième voix
19. Contrapunto 108 à 5, Cantus firmus à la troisième voix
20. Contrapunto 9 à 3, Cantus firmus à la troisième voix
21. Contrapunto 85 à 4, Cantus firmus à la troisième voix
22. Contrapunto 37 à 4, Cantus firmus à la troisième voix
23. Contrapunto 70 à 4, Cantus firmus à la troisième voix
24. Contrapunto 125 à 11, Cantus firmus à la neuvième voix
25. Contrapunto 71 à 4, Cantus firmus à la troisième voix
26. Contrapunto 117 à 5, Cantus firmus à la quatrième voix
27. Contrapunto 28 à 4, Cantus firmus à la troisième voix
28. Contrapunto 104 à 5, Cantus firmus à la quatrième voix
29. Contrapunto 58 à 4, Cantus firmus à la première voix
30. Contrapunto 121 à 6, Cantus firmus à la quatrième voix
31. Contrapunto 123 à 8, Cantus firmus à la sixième voix
32. Contrapunto 34 à 4, Cantus firmus à la troisième voix


Exact Audio Copy V1.3 from 2. September 2016

EAC extraction logfile from 16. November 2021, 23:41

Huelgas Ensemble / Festa . La Spagna, 32 contrapunti

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32 | 50:32.01 | 1:52.71 | 227401 | 235871


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Peak level 90.1 %
Extraction speed 1.9 X
Range quality 100.0 %
Test CRC E4928A77
Copy CRC E4928A77
Copy OK

No errors occurred


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==== Log checksum 9DC109CDDAEB8D063F3787E0300D5931ED7F8F11B4AED4BAF0E46DFB6FF75F0F ====

Paul Van Nevel, Huelgas Ensemble - Costanzo Festa: La Spagna - 32 Contrapunti (2015)

Thanks to the original releaser