Savall: Cererols - Missa pro Defunctis, Missa de Batalla (APE)
Savall: Cererols – Missa pro Defunctis, Missa de Batalla (APE)

Composer: Joan Cererols
Performer: La Capella Reial de Catalunya
Conductor: Jordi Savall
Audio CD
Format: APE (image+cue)
Label: Astree
Size: 277 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

01. Missa pro defunctis – Introitus
02. Missa pro defunctis – Kyrie
03. Missa pro defunctis – Graduale
04. Missa pro defunctis – Sequentia
05. Missa pro defunctis – Offertorium
06. Missa pro defunctis – Sanctus
07. Missa pro defunctis – Hei mihi
08. Missa pro defunctis – Agnus Dei
09. Missa pro defunctis – Communio
10. Missa pro defunctis – Libera me

11. Missa de batalla – Kyrie
12. Missa de batalla – Gloria
13. Missa de batalla – Credo
14. Missa de batalla – Sanctus
15. Missa de batalla – Agnus Dei

Characterful Catalan baroque

This recording has been around since 1987, and was one of the early recordings by Jordi Savall’s Capella Reial. It’s available in its original form and in various reissues, and still sounds very well to this day. Joan Cererols (1618-1676) was a Catalan baroque composer with a very distinctive style, well reflected in this recording using solo voices with instruments playing colla parte and producing characterful sounds and textures. His Missa pro Defunctis is a fairly average setting when compared to the great Requiems of music history by the likes of Lassus, Victoria, Campra, Mozart or Brahms; but it receives a beautiful performance here, especially in the Sequentia section where the polyphonic music alternates with finely sung plainchant passages.

Cererols’ following Missa de Batalla is a more distinctive and arresting work. The otherwise excellent booklet notes indicate that this is a parody Mass; the model work for the alleged parody is not mentioned, but the writer is presumably referring to Janequin’s oft-quoted chanson ‘La Guerre’. In fact, although Cererols uses elements of Janequin’s thematic material in places, the work as a whole is not actually a parody but a fairly free paraphrase Mass with plentiful themes and ideas of its own. It’s a fine piece in its own right and again benefits from a first-class performance from three 4-part choirs of solo voices with colla parte instruments.

This recording offers a fascinating insight into Iberian musical development as it built upon the magnificent work of Spanish renaissance composers and moved into the curious and inventive world of the baroque. There’s also a more recent and equally fine recording of the Missa de Batalla by Cappella Mediterranea, directed by Leonardo García Alarcón, on Carmina Latina.

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