/ Comet Musicke
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Son an ero 18
17 April 2022
Todd M. McComb
I don't ordinarily feature mid-sixteenth century motet programs, or much post-Josquin music in general, but instrumental music does figure some of the repertory I've been following over the subsequent century or so, and that's thus included e.g. the Recercadas by Ortiz. (I had the second Savall program listed for decades, and since more recently the Cocset album. For many years, there was only Savall....)
Indeed, it almost seems obligatory for me to make some remarks about the new Ortiz double album by Comet Musicke, especially considering that their (only) prior release was Quinze (recorded in 2018), i.e. right in the middle of my fifteenth century interests. The ensemble turning to Ortiz, generally more than a century later, thus feels strange in some ways — yet obviously reflects my own preferences in others. That said, the full-bodied motets, unusually (still for the period...) scored explicitly for voices & instruments, do provide a context for Ortiz's elegant instrumental selections, the latter (otherwise) suggesting more of a didactic program.
There's also a sort of folksy quality to the interpretations here overall, similar in a sense to how Quinze presents, but there's also no recording date to be found. So although Caleidoscopio was released late last year (& I was slow to order a copy from France...), it's actually unclear if it even predates the relatively austere Cocset set (recorded in 2019 & also including a few other pieces for context).
The heavy orchestrations & alternations aren't really my thing either (although can suggest e.g. English verse albums, perhaps...), but there's certainly an energy to the production, a boisterous quality that the more intimate instrumental tracks can almost seem to interrupt.... There's a feeling for the lyricism of the recercadas, then, but also a sort of rhetorical quality via rubato etc., interspersing & inflecting the larger motets in what can seem a "busy" production overall....
However, Ortiz's recercadas also focus on a sort of harmonized monody, i.e. exude linear concentration & rhythmic intricacy, while the motets (alternations & all) do present more of a polyphonic (& festive) environment. They were supposedly quite influential for a short period.... I probably won't be featuring more vocal polyphony from the era in general, though.