Capella de Ministrers is an early and medieval music ensemble formed in 1987 in Valencia, Spain by its director, the Valencian musicologist Carles Magraner. Capella de Ministrers is recovering the musical heritage from an astounding and up-to-date perspective:early music combined with the latest technology. This first album of the trilogy dedicated to Ramon Llull , "Conversion, study and contemplation," illustrates the youth of Ramon Llull, devoted to sensual pleasures to profane love and the cultivation of the troubadour lyric, seen through the prism of the convert who has left the vanities of the world.
Although often overshadowed by his better-known Italian contemporary Claudio Monteverdi, as well as his successor in Lutheran music J.S. Bach, Heinrich Schutz's contributions to 17th-century sacred music were nevertheless significant. With a career that spanned an era of great musical developments, his sacred compositions reveal a rich array of influences and were to prove inspirational to future generations of composers. This 19-disc box set is the result of four volumes of recordings made by Cappella Augustana and Matteo Messori for Brilliant Classics between 2003 and 2010, collected together for the first time.
German musician Hans-Martin Linde has established impressive credentials in so many fields of endeavor that it is difficult to give him a primary classification. Some biographers will call him a flutist and recorder player first, then a conductor. He began his career as a flutist, but eventually turned to conducting, without, however, abandoning the flute or recorder. He has also performed in concert as a baritone singer; has drawn notice as a composer, particularly for his 1993 Concerto for recorder and strings; and has authored several authoritative books on flute and recorder performance.
Sixteenth-century Spanish composer Francisco Guerrero is featured in a reissued disc of motets for four, five, six, eight and 12 voices, with and without instruments. They come from a handful of collections published between 1555 and 1597 and show Guerrero’s skill in evoking a wide range of moods, joyful, sombre and contemplative in turn. Jordi Savall’s ensemble is well-equipped to project the skilfully wrought structures and expressive allure of the music. Some of the pieces fare better than others in respect of vocal texture and ensemble. Tenors and basses occasionally lack tonal refinement but, at their strongest the performances provide a radiant conspectus of Guerrero’s masterly motets.
There are more than one dozen recordings of Monteverdi's great masterpiece, the Vespers of 1610, a distinction reserved for very few works and composers from the late 16th and early 17th centuries. With this kind of attention, you'd think that this substantial work for choir, soloists, and instruments would be more easily accessible–but it is in fact a structurally complex and musically intricate compilation of hymns, antiphons, and psalms, concluding with a magnificent setting of the Magnificat. Most recordings can't seem to overcome the strategic and technical problems of presenting such a three-dimensional work on a recording. But this one is different: the music literally comes alive and grabs our attention. If you're in the market for Monteverdi's Vespers, look no further. This is the most dynamic, dramatic version on disc.