Caecilia-Concert. Treasury of a Saint. Fiona Russell; cornetto, Adam Woolf; alto and tenor trombone, Wouter Verschuren; dulcian, Kathryn Cok; harpsichord and organ. Antoine Machand Records CC72161 Distributed by Challenge Records. Info. www.caecilia-concert.com Recorded November 28-30, 2005.
Caecilia-Concert, one of the finest ensembles of the younger generation of early music specialists has, given us another outstanding recording with this CD, which focuses on 17th-century music including vocal polyphony, diminutions and other types of instrumental music. All the players are virtuosi in their own right and combined have a very refined ensemble sense. The recording contains eighteen pieces by well-known musicians such as de Selma, Sweelinck, Bertoli, Fontana, Rosenmüller, Cima Rognoni, Palestrina, Bovicelli, de Rore, and Cesare as well as lesser known composers including Philipp Friedrich Böddecker (1615-1683), Cornelis Thysmanszoon Padbruè (c. 1592-1670), Juan Bautista Jose Cabanilles (1644-1712), and Herman Hollanders (c. 1600-1650).
All members of the ensemble share the glory in this recording by being featured in solo or prominent positions in these glorious works. Selma's Canzone Est-ce Mars shows off the spectacular playing of Russell and Woolf who demonstrate flawless light and brilliant articulations. Bovicelli's diminutions on Angelus ad pastores by Rore is played beautifully by Fiona Russell with a light and gentle interpretation, while Adam Woolf's playing of Rognoni's diminutions of Palestrina's Pulchra es amica mea on the tenor trombone is more forceful with sharper attacks. Both are beautiful and expressive readings. That there are only two works of this genre on the CD makes good programming sense. A little goes a long way. Ferro's Sonata cinque has some lively trumpet fanfare-type figures and gets a lively interpretation from the ensemble. The dulcian has a moment to shine on the Sonata La Monica by Bröddecker and on Buchner's Sonata IX. Wouter Verschuren achieves an incredibly deep and rich tone quality even while playing the most florid passages. Fiona Russell uses a mute cornett on Quam pulchra es by Cima where she and Woolf match articulations in a glorious series of imitative lines. Kathryn Cok is always the most sensitive of accompanists on the keyboard continuo parts and more virtuosic flare when given a solo piece such as her harpsichord reading of Est-ce Mars by Sweelinck.
Treasury of a Saint is a well-thought-out CD program with impeccable musical performances. Fiona Russell plays a cornett by John McCann and a mute cornett by Serge Delmas. Adam Woolf plays on an alto trombone by Meinl