de Wert (c. 1535-1596) is believed to have been born in Antwerp. He was
sent to Italy at a young age where he became a chorister at the house of Maria
di Cardona, Marchese della Padulla. He later became a member of the choir
formed by Alfonso Gonzaga at Novellara but soon made connections with the
nearby ducal courts of Mantua where he eventually became maestro di cappella at
the ducal chapel of S. Barbara, Mantua.
in Domino a 5 (Rejoice in the Lord). It is full of life and vitality, as Wert’s
wonderful harmonies are woven with a feeling of true rejoicing to a sonorous
vobis a 5 (For let this attitude be yours) slowly expands with this choir
bringing the most exquisite textures and sonorities, all the while individual
sections of the choir shining through, finding some lovely subtle nuances,
shaping this music beautifully. The music rises centrally through some
wonderfully uplifting passages, the choir later bringing some lovely rich
writing of Saule, Saule a8, a
distinctive motet that would surely bring challenges for any choir. This choir
responds wonderfully, shaping some lovely passages.
heard in Ramah) expanding across the choir with the female voices adding some
very lovely moments. As the motet develops, this choir rises through some
passages that positively glow before bringing this quite wonderful work to a
beautifully controlled conclusion.
blended moments in Amen, amen dico vobis
a 5 (Truly, truly, I say to you) finding passages of rhythmic buoyancy around
a gentler flow before picking up in rhythm to all but dance to the end.
some distinctive rising phrases that lift this music, often bringing a great passion.
more than the number) before finding a gentler flow in this gently rising and
falling penitent motet. This choir find so many wonderful moments, bringing a
great subtlety and attention to every detail, picking up rhythmically before a
our only hope), this choir finding a subtle fluctuation of emotional strength, a
lovely ebb and flow throughout as this mournful text unfolds.
Jesu in naviculam a6 (When Jesus had climbed into the boat) weave some very
lovely harmonies and sonorities, responding wonderfully to every little
rhythmic detail with some particularly fine moments for the female voices before
leading to a remarkably fine coda.
into heaven) joyfully and buoyantly
forward, the whole choir joining to weave some extraordinarily fine harmonies with
some beautifully controlled moments at Quasi
flos rosarum in diebus vernis, (As
the flower of roses in the spring) such a fine gentle blend of voices that,
nevertheless, retains a fine forward momentum.
vox tua a ploratu a6 (Keep your voice from weeping) joined immediately by the
other voices to slowly weave and blend the most lovely sonorities in another
mournful motet, a setting of Jeremiah, yet finding moments of greater rhythmic
vehicle for Stile Antico’s glorious choral textures, rising and falling through
some terrific passages.
O altitudo divitiarum
a6 (Oh, the height of riches) is
an ideal motet to conclude this disc, the choir finding a wonderful, ever
changing pulse and rubato as this piece moves ahead through such fine textures.
colour and lift the music that makes these performances so spectacularly fine,
showing Giaches de Wert to be a composer of distinctive style. Stile Antico
receive a first class recording from All Hallows’ Church, Gospel Oak, London,
UK and there are excellent booklet notes from Matthew O’Donovan.