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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Grzegorz Gerwazy Gorczycki Conductus funebris, etc., The Sixteen, Eamonn Dougan

The early music and baroque composers of Poland generally have not gotten the attention they merit in our modern era. Part of that has to do with historical upheavals, no doubt, but the rest seems serendipitous. Acclaimed early music group the Sixteen are doing their part to expose us to choral music from that time and place. They recently came out with a third CD in the series, in this case the music of "the Polish Handel" as he was called in his day, one Grzegorz Gerwazy Gorczycki (1665-1734).

Gorczycki gets our attention as the Sixteen perform three substantial works and a few brief additions. Conductus funebris, Litaniae de Providentia Divina, Missa Rorate caeli (CORO 16130) partake alternatingly in "stile antico" and "stile moderno" with varying degrees of contrapuntal density accordingly.

Both a cappella and choir-instrumental sacred works get the usual brilliant Sixteen stamp of excellence. As expected the ensemble comes through with wonderfully authentic and rousing versions of the music, with the sort of sweet yet somber timbral richness that brings out the period in all its specificity.

Gorczycki strikes one as a skillfully inventive composer throughout, with a discerning sense of line and part. He is a genuine lyrical force. The performances are as near ideal as one could imagine, pristine, sonically alive, fully worthy of the quality of the compositions.

A beautiful recording, highly recommended.

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