Alessandro Striggio’s 40 and 60-part `Missa sopra Ecco sì beato giorno` is the starting point for Hervé Niquet`s polyphonic programme of Florentine flamboyance - which will be touring in 2012 - on Glossa. He cites the musical celebrations for a feast day occasion in the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence in honour of St John the Baptist, adding a trio of works by Orazio Benevoli, another specialist in multi-parted choral works, and Striggio’s motet `Ecce beatem lucem`, also scored for 40 voices. Niquet has included polyphonic arrangements of Gregorian plainchant Mass Propers by Franceso Corteccia, maestro di cappella in the Cathedral of Florence in Striggio’s time.
The recording was made in Notre-Dame du Liban in Paris, using an edition of the Mass by Dominique Visse, originating in 1978. Niquet gathered 60 singers (as called for in the Agnus Dei) plus instrumentalists from Le Concert Spirituel around him in a circle (conductor and microphones inside) for this new SACD surround-sound experience from Glossa. It calls on all the ceremonial pomp and flair which these masterful musicians have been demonstrating over the years, in concert and on disc. And who better than the famous French countertenor Visse himself to be drawn into that circle as one of the 60 singers!
“What increases the appeal of this programme is the accompanying selection of fine motets by Striggio`s compatriot Orazio Benevoli`s...and some settings of plainchants by Corteccia, Francesco that mimic the improvised polyphony that was a common occurrence in festive Masses such as that represented here...this disc certainly merits my personal accolade.” GRAMOPHONE