As his starting point for a brand new recording of the music from the polychoral Renaissance and the “monumental Baroque”, with Alessandro Striggio’s 40 and 60-part Missa sopra Ecco sì beato giorno leading the way, Hervé Niquet turns to 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.
Franz Krommer (1759-1831) was a prolific and very good composer, whose music is now being resuscitated with great and deserved success. It was difficult to be a composer in Vienna at the same time as Beethoven and Schubert, and most of their contemporaries have not survived the pressure. But Krommer managed to retain his personality and originality, becoming the last official director of chamber music and court composer to the Habsburg court under the conservative Emperor Francis I. The first of the two symphonies was published in 1803. Among its many interesting features is a haunting litde trio in the form of a waltz. The second work is much later, with four horns and three trombones, and is in C minor, but ending in the major. In both works, Krommer's knowledge of, and predilection for, the wind instruments is notable. The two works were well worth recording, especially with such felicitous performances and bright, pleasing recorded sound.