Having already been bowled over by the sumptuous magnificence of Biber's "Missa Bruxellensis" and "Missa Salisburgensis" on AliaVox 9825 and Archiv respectively, I was eager to sample the sounds of this world première recording of the 'Requiem'. And it can safely be said that I was not disappointed for Biber is quite certainly, one of the greatest composers of the 17th century and his Requiem is proof of that.
Although there is a grand, brilliant conception about the work, it is the subtle, quieter moments which provide the most inspired parts, especially the symphonicly charged Sequentia and the reverent Sanctus, both parts of deeply palpable spirituality. However the combined forces of La Capella Reial de Catalunya and Le Concert des Nations provide a magisterial setting to the proceedings and the vast, pompous pieces are indeed quite magisterially beautiful. What is of real interest however is the first work on disc, the amazingly innovative Battalia which also features some dissonance that is quite striking for its time.
As usual with AliaVox issues, the CD is quite exhaustively well documented and has beautiful presentation with diagrams of the musical and instrumental setup in the ambience of Salzburg Cathedral. You will not notice that the Requiem is a live performance.
Copyright © 2002, Gerald Fenech