- Missa Salisburgensis, mass for 2 double choruses in 16 parts, double orchestra & double continuo, C. App. 101 (attribution uncertain)
- Plaudite tympana, motet for 2 double choruses in 16 parts, double orchestra & double continuo, C. App. 106 (attribution uncertain): Motet
Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber's "Missa Salisburgensis" (Salzburg Mass) represents the ultimate development of the polychoral tradition that began in Venice with Giovanni Gabrieli. Intended for the magnificent Salzburg Cathedral, it has been recorded there several times. Jordi Savall moves the proceedings to the slightly smaller Cardona Castle in his native Catalonia. The results are excellent. This giant work, in 54 parts that form eight separate "choirs" or groups (some of the parts are instrumental), is a bear to keep clear and transparent, but Savall, with all of his regular ensembles arrayed into a kind of supergroup, pulls it off and invests the music with the exuberance it deserves. Savall gained fame as a gambist in quintessentially inward French music, and most of the performances he has led over his long career have been small in scale. Biber is not his specialty, but he delivers a magnificent performance of the mass: sample the "Credo" (track 14) with its magically rocking "Incarnatus" and "Crucifixus" giving way to a splendid climax at the end. He also builds effectively to the main attraction with another 54-part work, the motet "Plaudite Tympana," an instrumental "Sonata Sancti Polycarpi," and an eight-movement programmatic "Battalia," all introduced with a fanfare by Bartholomäo Riedl. All in all, one is left with the impression of having experienced some of the astonishment felt by the Mass' first hearers in 1682, who, Savall quotes conductor Reinhard Goebel as saying, "were undoubtedly as moved and spellbound as we -- and in particular, we, the performing musicians -- are today." Magnificent.
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