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Festa: La Spagna / Paul Van Nevel, Huelgas Ensemble


Release Date: 02/10/2015 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi   Catalog #: 951799   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Costanzo Festa
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
Back Order: Usually ships in 2 to 3 weeks.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews


While this first recording of 32 of Costanzo Festa's 125 variations on the popular cantus firmus melody La Spagna is expertly performed and sounds terrific, this definitely is a disc that will appeal primarily to specialists and other devotees of 16th-century instrumental music. Listeners who appreciate such things will be fascinated with Festa's imaginative and highly skilled treatment of the 37-note "theme", which he preserves intact throughout each of his contrapunti, which employ varying numbers of parts, from three to 11. The latter, Contrapunto 125, which is "the last variation of the manuscript", is grand and richly harmonious and Paul Van Nevel's choice of
Read more instruments fully exploits these attributes. Another, the four-voice Contrapunto 88, assigns each part a different note-value, from double-whole-notes (the cantus firmus) to quarter-notes. The effect is truly unusual--a rather chaotic 54 seconds, or as Van Nevel accurately describes, it creates "a decidedly bizarre sound picture".


Director Van Nevel assigns two different sets of ensembles--one "whole" and one "broken" consort--to alternate variations (most of which last less than two minutes), so our ears are treated to a welcome mix of mellow and reedy winds, cornets and sackbuts, and viols. Although the notes say otherwise, there's also a surprise (and stunning) addition of voices (singing, that is) in the five-part Contrapunto 104.


Although this unique masterpiece--it's the largest-scale work of its type from the Renaissance--was never published, references to its existence and misrepresentations of its contents appeared throughout the centuries since it was composed. And while comparisons of Festa's work with Bach's Musical Offering or Goldberg Variations may be something of a stretch on almost any level, there's no doubt as to the impressive fertility of ideas and facility of execution evidenced in this well-chosen and skillfully ordered program. Van Nevel's notes are expert and succinct, giving us just enough information to place the music in context--and the excellent performances do the rest. Incidentally, I listened to this hybrid SACD on a standard CD player, and although it was a little "edgy" in the treble at higher volume, the fullness of the sound and natural, vibrant quality to the instrumental timbres won me over.
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com
Review of original release of this recording Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Variations (125) on "La Spagna": Contrapunto no 46 4 by Costanzo Festa
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Italy 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  St. Vincent's Cloister, Opwijk, Belgium 
Length: 1 Minutes 46 Secs. 
2.
Variations (125) on "La Spagna": Contrapunto no 41 4 by Costanzo Festa
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Italy 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  St. Vincent's Cloister, Opwijk, Belgium 
Length: 1 Minutes 55 Secs. 
3.
Variations (125) on "La Spagna": Contrapunto no 105 5 by Costanzo Festa
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Italy 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  St. Vincent's Cloister, Opwijk, Belgium 
Length: 1 Minutes 38 Secs. 
4.
Variations (125) on "La Spagna": Contrapunto no 101 4 by Costanzo Festa
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Italy 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  St. Vincent's Cloister, Opwijk, Belgium 
Length: 1 Minutes 31 Secs. 
5.
Variations (125) on "La Spagna": Contrapunto no 88 4 by Costanzo Festa
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Italy 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  St. Vincent's Cloister, Opwijk, Belgium 
Length: 0 Minutes 54 Secs. 
6.
Variations (125) on "La Spagna": Contrapunto no 76 4 by Costanzo Festa
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Italy 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  St. Vincent's Cloister, Opwijk, Belgium 
Length: 1 Minutes 39 Secs. 
7.
Variations (125) on "La Spagna": Contrapunto no 124 8 by Costanzo Festa
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Italy 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  St. Vincent's Cloister, Opwijk, Belgium 
Length: 1 Minutes 32 Secs. 
8.
Variations (125) on "La Spagna": Contrapunto no 81 4 by Costanzo Festa
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Italy 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  St. Vincent's Cloister, Opwijk, Belgium 
Length: 0 Minutes 59 Secs. 
9.
Variations (125) on "La Spagna": Contrapunto no 60 4 by Costanzo Festa
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Italy 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  St. Vincent's Cloister, Opwijk, Belgium 
Length: 1 Minutes 22 Secs. 
10.
Variations (125) on "La Spagna": Contrapunto no 77 4 by Costanzo Festa
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Italy 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  St. Vincent's Cloister, Opwijk, Belgium 
Length: 1 Minutes 7 Secs. 
11.
Variations (125) on "La Spagna": Contrapunto no 122 7 by Costanzo Festa
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Italy 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  St. Vincent's Cloister, Opwijk, Belgium 
Length: 1 Minutes 30 Secs. 
12.
Variations (125) on "La Spagna": Contrapunto no 25 4 by Costanzo Festa
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Italy 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  St. Vincent's Cloister, Opwijk, Belgium 
Length: 1 Minutes 57 Secs. 
13.
Variations (125) on "La Spagna": Contrapunto no 118 5 by Costanzo Festa
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Italy 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  St. Vincent's Cloister, Opwijk, Belgium 
Length: 2 Minutes 34 Secs. 
14.
Variations (125) on "La Spagna": Contrapunto no 47 4 by Costanzo Festa
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Italy 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  St. Vincent's Cloister, Opwijk, Belgium 
Length: 0 Minutes 50 Secs. 
15.
Variations (125) on "La Spagna": Contrapunto no 35 4 by Costanzo Festa
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Italy 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  St. Vincent's Cloister, Opwijk, Belgium 
Length: 1 Minutes 0 Secs. 
16.
Variations (125) on "La Spagna": Contrapunto no 40 4 by Costanzo Festa
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Italy 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  St. Vincent's Cloister, Opwijk, Belgium 
Length: 1 Minutes 30 Secs. 
17.
Variations (125) on "La Spagna": Contrapunto no 8 3 by Costanzo Festa
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Italy 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  St. Vincent's Cloister, Opwijk, Belgium 
Length: 1 Minutes 37 Secs. 
18.
Variations (125) on "La Spagna": Contrapunto no 14 3 by Costanzo Festa
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Italy 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  St. Vincent's Cloister, Opwijk, Belgium 
Length: 1 Minutes 20 Secs. 
19.
Variations (125) on "La Spagna": Contrapunto no 108 5 by Costanzo Festa
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Italy 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  St. Vincent's Cloister, Opwijk, Belgium 
Length: 2 Minutes 6 Secs. 
20.
Variations (125) on "La Spagna": Contrapunto no 9 3 by Costanzo Festa
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Italy 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  St. Vincent's Cloister, Opwijk, Belgium 
Length: 1 Minutes 21 Secs. 
21.
Variations (125) on "La Spagna": Contrapunto no 85 4 by Costanzo Festa
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Italy 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  St. Vincent's Cloister, Opwijk, Belgium 
Length: 1 Minutes 24 Secs. 
22.
Variations (125) on "La Spagna": Contrapunto no 37 4 by Costanzo Festa
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Italy 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  St. Vincent's Cloister, Opwijk, Belgium 
Length: 1 Minutes 29 Secs. 
23.
Variations (125) on "La Spagna": Contrapunto no 70 4 by Costanzo Festa
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Italy 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  St. Vincent's Cloister, Opwijk, Belgium 
Length: 1 Minutes 53 Secs. 
24.
Variations (125) on "La Spagna": Contrapunto no 125 11 by Costanzo Festa
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Italy 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  St. Vincent's Cloister, Opwijk, Belgium 
Length: 1 Minutes 41 Secs. 
25.
Variations (125) on "La Spagna": Contrapunto no 71 4 by Costanzo Festa
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Italy 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  St. Vincent's Cloister, Opwijk, Belgium 
Length: 2 Minutes 12 Secs. 
26.
Variations (125) on "La Spagna": Contrapunto no 117 5 by Costanzo Festa
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Italy 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  St. Vincent's Cloister, Opwijk, Belgium 
Length: 2 Minutes 58 Secs. 
27.
Variations (125) on "La Spagna": Contrapunto no 28 4 by Costanzo Festa
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Italy 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  St. Vincent's Cloister, Opwijk, Belgium 
Length: 0 Minutes 56 Secs. 
28.
Variations (125) on "La Spagna": Contrapunto no 104 5 by Costanzo Festa
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Italy 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  St. Vincent's Cloister, Opwijk, Belgium 
Length: 1 Minutes 4 Secs. 
29.
Variations (125) on "La Spagna": Contrapunto no 58 4 by Costanzo Festa
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Italy 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  St. Vincent's Cloister, Opwijk, Belgium 
Length: 1 Minutes 14 Secs. 
30.
Variations (125) on "La Spagna": Contrapunto no 121 6 by Costanzo Festa
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Italy 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  St. Vincent's Cloister, Opwijk, Belgium 
Length: 3 Minutes 47 Secs. 
31.
Variations (125) on "La Spagna": Contrapunto no 123 8 by Costanzo Festa
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Italy 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  St. Vincent's Cloister, Opwijk, Belgium 
Length: 1 Minutes 30 Secs. 
32.
Variations (125) on "La Spagna": Contrapunto no 34 4 by Costanzo Festa
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Italy 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  St. Vincent's Cloister, Opwijk, Belgium 
Length: 1 Minutes 52 Secs. 

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