I Fagiolinia, Lessandro Striggio: Mass in 40 Parts (Decca)

Reviewed by Andy Gill.

I Fagiolini here presents the premiere recording of Striggio’s recently discovered Mass composed for five choirs of eight parts apiece, which is presumed to be the inspiration for Thomas Tallis’s similarly monumental exercise in Renaissance polyphony, “Spem in alium”. Though Striggio’s more formal Italian harmonic decorum precludes the kind of harmonic complexities that make Tallis’s masterwork such a superb experience, it nonetheless inhabits a powerfully affecting landscape, and is arranged here for period orchestration featuring viols, cornetts, lutes and the like. It’s accompanied by an impressive “Ecce beatem lutem”, the piece believed to be the seed-corn for his Mass.

[via The Independent]

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