Escolania & Capella de musica Montserrat ars Musicae de Barcelona (Roma Escales) Ireneu Segarra
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Missa De Batalla
It is by no means uncommon to come upon a "Missa de Batalla" in the Spanish music of the 16th oder 17th century. Stylistic turns of a military nature (exploitation, for example, of the fanfare's melodic line) were already long-established in secular polyphony and in instrumental pieces. They were just making their entry into the music of the church. The presence of such elements in Spain has always been treated as a matter of course and perhaps the best justification for this lies in the typical appearance of Iberian organs. One does not have to be a professional to see immediately what distinguishes them from their sister instruments in other parts. It is the pipes of the horizontally arranged reed registers protruding from the facade like a fanfare chorus. These horizontal registers were often built in as an afterthought in the 16th and 17th centuries and because of the division of bass and descant in the manuals of Spanish organs received different names: "Trompeta de Batalla" (8-foot throughout), "Clari" or "Clari de Campanya" (in the descant). The result was that in the 17th, 18th and even 19th centuries numerous "Tocates de Clarins" or "Tocates de Batalla" were composed for these splendid reed registers with their ceremonial splendour of tone. The style in question here ist determined by the typical arpeggios and rapid ornamental figuration with which we are familiar from the music of early brass wind-instruments, and it is a style which finally made its impression upon motets, antiphons, villancicos and masses. Tomas Luis de Victoria, for example, dedicated to King Philipp III a "Misa de la Victoria" or "Misa de Batalla" which has striking thematic resemblances to the organ-Batallas of Jimenez, Morales and Correa de Arauxo.
Cererols, too, gave ample demonstration of the general assurance in dealing with Batalla stylistic devices - not only in such antiphons as "Regina caeli" (Victory of Christ's Resurrection) and in some villancicos, e.g. "Ah, grumento ligero" (with thematic reference to the navy), but above all in his twelve-part mass. (In this work he certainly employed the customary stylistic elements but he did not make use of the clear-cut thematic programme as his predecessors had still done. Furthermore, it is not known for what specific occasion the mass was composed.
In accordance with the practice of his time Cererols used instruments to reinforce the vocal parts. And the individual sound of each of the three choirs is emphasised by the type of accompaniment used.
First Choir: organ and harp. Second Choir: instruments capable of fine dynamic distinction. Third Choir: instruments with large volume of tone.
The composition of the different choirs and the structure of the music itself contribute further to the clarity of the different roles.
First Choir: soloists, first declamation of text, relatively high pitch, much ornamentation.
Second Choir: composed of only a few singers with mainly solo function.
Third Choir: a large body comprising all other singers.
All three choirs together form the Plenum. For the Et incarnatus in the Credo Cererols employs the first choir only, which is also composed of soloists. In this central piece soloists and organ preserve the slow tempo and present a moving example of devoted and reverent religiosity. As a whole the work possesses brilliancy of tone, is lively in the alternation of the choirs and speaks in refined but powerful strains. As a piece of art it permits us to recognize to-day how formerly secular elements penetrated church music and there in the service of the liturgy made their contribution towards a fresh and vigorous religious expression.
Missa De Gloria
The addition of "de Gloria" to the title of this mass, though usual to-day, is not authentic. For among the many masses of Cererols of which we possess the manuscripts this one is conspicuous by its lack of a title. Nevertheless, the addition is quite in keeping with the character of the work which expresses something between lofty joy and splendour, without, however, seeming overdone.
Like a leitmotiv the main theme takes its course in differing forms through all the parts and through all the mass. It opens the main sections. At one moment makes a gentle impression, as when entrusted to the first solo choir only (Et incarnatus est); at another it has a decisive and purposeful effect as a stretto (Agnus Dei). The latter is probably to be taken as the climax of the different developments from the beginning. In some vocal parts the main theme occurs in the middle of a section too, or it is saved up for the important and solemn clausuhe. Other themas, those of secondary importance, are clearly distinguished; they are based on the seventh note. In longer sections like the Gloria and the Credo the polyphonic pattern is interrupted by homophonic recitatives sung by the two choirs in alternation. This opens up the musical structure, and the character of the text can be emphasized by use of contrasts. In Montserrat of the 17th century it was as customary as elsewhere to reinforce the vocal parts with instruments, freely including such as would provide for ornamentation. In this recording the first choir has been given only organ accompaniment, while the second choir, considerably more massive, is accompanied by baroque instruments producing an adequate volume of sound. The attractive roughness in the tone of the old wind-instruments increases the solemn character and allows the polyphonic pattern to appear more clearly.
The text conforms with that of the Roman Missal. The one exception is the Benedictus after the Sanctus. In Montserrat and in some other places an eucharistic Motectum was inserted here instead.
translation: Clive Williams