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Here is a rarity – Bartłomiej Pękiel flourished during the middle decades of the seventeenth century and is one of the most important Polish composers of the time. He was assistant to polemicist, theorist and composer Marco Scacchi at the Warsaw Chapel Royal before becoming its first non-Italian maestro di cappella. While the four masses featured on this disc are often distinctive in expressive variety and nuance Italian polyphony, the musical styles of Monteverdi and Cavalli are never far away. The prevailing style here is that of ‘stile antico’, with the concerto ‘da chiesa’ ‘Dulcis amor Jesu’ and the dialogo ‘Audite mortales’ representing the opposing ‘stile moderno’. The Sixteen, under Eamonn Dougan’s direction, is on characteristically strong form providing persuasive advocacy for this hitherto almost forgotten music.

Nicholas Anderson Read the full review on Agora Classica


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Early Music Today, 2013 - ©Rhinegold Publishing