Sacabuche! Performs 17th Century Italian Motet

The early baroque practice of doubling voices with trombones is well-known. Although instruments weren’t always specified, there were plenty of woodcuts and paintings illustrating the practice. The baroque trombone, or sackbut, had a smaller bore than a modern instrument, but otherwise quite similar.

Scholarship has led to informed performance practices that incorporate trombones into baroque choral music. And that’s what makes this new release by Sacabuche! is a little different.

Every work on this release specifically calls for trombones as part of the continuo. And the trombones don’t just double the voices. They also serve a continuo role, providing harmonic texture to the moving vocal lines. And sometimes even serve as an additional wordless choir.

This early music sackbut and vocal ensemble knows this repertoire well — even if the listener doesn’t. As their literature says, they perform “the beautiful and lesser-known repertoire for baroque trombones, organ and voice.” True on all counts. Francesco Usper, Gasparo Casati, and Stefano Pasino aren’t familiar even to many baroque music aficionados — but they should be. The music on this recording is all well-constructed and tuneful. And impeccably played.

17th Century Italian Motets
Atma Classics ACD 2 2712

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