Muffat - Missa in labore requies | Audite AUDITE97539

Muffat - Missa in labore requies


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Label: Audite

Cat No: AUDITE97539

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Vocal/Choral

Release Date: 24th June 2016



A monumental baroque mass: authentic Muffat from four galleries.

Georg Muffat’s Missa in labore requies alongside church sonatas of his contemporaries make up Audite’s latest offering in the series of polychoral baroque music recorded by renowned Early Music performers.

With its octagonal layout and four galleries, the Abbey Church at Muri provides an ideal acoustic for performing polychoral music. The galleries surround the main body of the church, placing the audience in the midst of the musical event. This sound experience is unique, both in concert and in recordings. The considerable distance between the galleries creates challenges in the musical interaction of the different groups. At the same time, however, it forms part of the composition itself, for only through the spatial distance between the choirs is the music able to assume its intended expanse and grandeur. A suitable venue is therefore a deciding factor for the authentic performance of such works, superbly realised on this recording. The two historic Bossart organs of 1743 provide a true continuo foundation, making their mark on the impressive overall sound of the recording.

Georg Muffat’s monumental Missa in labore requies is the composer’s only surviving sacred work, comprising twenty-four voices allocated into five separate choirs. Muffat makes full use of the lavish scoring in this work which was doubtless written for an extremely prestigious occasion. The central splendour is repeatedly alternated with movements giving vocal soloists the opportunity to shine in virtuoso as well as expressive passages. The finest old-style counterpoint stands alongside the modern concertato style, with piano passages of the great tutti echoes creating impressive effects: these are only surpassed by the muted trumpets and timpani accompanying the “passus et sepultus est” in a sombre funeral march. Church sonatas for various scorings by Muffat’s contemporaries round off this recording.


The recent discovery of Alessandro Striggio’s huge 40-part Mass has whetted the appetite for other multi-choir works: Georg Muffat’s late 17th-century piece in 24 parts is modest in terms of size, but musically rather more interesting. The writing is subtle and expressive, and this recording using the four galleries of the abbey church in Muri mirrors well the probable original setting in Salzburg cathedral. ... Johannes Strobl’s ensemble is sometimes unfocused but always energetic. They complement Muffat’s vocal music with rich, well-chosen instrumental sonatas by Heinrich Biber, Antonio Bertali and Johann Schmelzer: shining, skating sounds.  Nicholas Kenyon
The Observer 26 June 2016

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