These quartets were recorded in sumptuous sound from December 1967 to the middle of ’68. Remastering can lead to shrillness which undermines intonation – but not here. This sounds fabulous above the stave.
Yet another Christmas release features the Christmas vocal polyphony of Cristobal de Morales, who is regarded as the first significant Spanish composer of the Renaissance. Like most compositions for this Christian feast, his Christmas motets circulated and were performed throughout Europe, traveling far beyond Spain's borders. His archaic, mystical and expressive musical language, that one almost might term place-less and timeless, must have played a role in this dissemination. Moreover, Morales was active not only in Spanish cathedrals but also spent many years of his creative career as a papal singer in the Sistine Chapel in Rome.
Entre le quintette et le quatuor de Saint-Saëns, il y a toute une vie de compositeur, des joies, des douleurs, des idées, des motifs, la construction d'une existence et d'une esthétique. C'est cette substance éminemment sensible que le Quatuor Girard, une des formations françaises les plus prometteuses du moment, accompagné du jeune pianiste Guillaume Bellom, a voulu saisir dans ce nouveau disque B Records, enregistré dans l'atmosphère douce et feutrée de la Fondation Singer-Polignac.
As a fanatic of early music, I was overjoyed when I discovered this recording, having known Weser-Renaissance from their performances of Schutz and other earlier composers. To jump right in, the instrumental tracks are quite powerful. In contrast to many other early music discs I've heard, this one exclusively uses what 16th-century musicians would consider 'high' (loud) instruments…sounds to me like shawms, which would have been used for outdoor performances. Track after track of these can become strident at times, but true to the period.