The church music of 17th-century Venice is rich in spirit, majesty, and devotion. These three characteristics I would also use to describe a new recording by ensemble Instrumenta Musica on the Ramee label. Their program brings together composers who were well-known Venetian contemporaries of Claudio Monterverdi—all excellent composers in their own right. Led by trombonist Ercole Nisini, Instrumenta Musica produces beautiful sonorities which easily transport the listener back to another time and place.
Musica Fiata’s 1991 Harmonia Mundi recording of Venetian music at the Habsburg court reminds me that such repertoire was in high-demand outside of Venice. Nearly twenty years after it was produced, the recording still sounds fresh and is filled with terrific performances. No doubt due to the ensemble’s director and cornettist, Roland Wilson.