The early music ensemble ¡Sacabuche! presents a collection of music from the Habsburg Court. Giovanni Valenti, Antonio Bertali, and Pavel Josef Vejvonovsky may not be well-known today. But in the 1640s Bohemia, they were renowned for their instrumental virtuosity and composing skills.
¡Sacabuche! delivers some first-rate performances of this music. In addition to violin, theorbo, and organ, the ensemble features a brass section, with cornettos and sackbuts.
I know I’ve said it before, but it’s still true. I find the sound of sackbuts and cornettos soothing. They’re the predecessors of trombones and trumpets. But they have a warmer, mellower sound than their modern counterparts.
Many of these works show the influence of Giovanni Gabrieli and no wonder. This collection features music from the Catholic courts of Austria and Czechoslovakia. Several of the composers are Italian, and either studied with Gabrieli or were familiar with his style while working in Italy.
But this music isn’t as florid as Gabrieli. The harmonies and counterpoint are simpler. And that, I think, is part of their charm. These are true early music gems.
I think anyone interested in early music should give this recording a listen.
Hidden Treasures: Seventeenth-Century Music of Habsburg and Bohemia
¡Sacabuche! – Linda Pearse, director
ATMA Classique ACD2 2798