Šimon Brixi (1693-1735) - Missa ex D, Arietta De gloriosissima resurectione Domini nostri Jesu Christi, Litaniae de venerabili sacramento, Alma redemptoris mater, Domine ad adjuvandum me festina, Magnificat
Hana Blažíková - soprano, Jaromír Nosek - bass, Hipocondria Ensemble, artistic director Jan Hádek
In the first third of the 18th-century, Prague was a major music centre, with Italian operas and concertos, French suites, Italian and German oratorios being performed in the city, and the local churches striving to acquire the latest and most virtuosic compositions. Šimon Brixi was one of the most distinguished composers who drew inspiration from this thriving culture, while creating highly inventive music of his own. He mainly wrote liturgical pieces, yet few of them have survived. Brixi gained great acclaim for his musicae navales for the popular Saint John of Nepomuk Festivities in May on the river Vltava. Although he did not publish his scores, Brixi was a renowned composer and his music was frequently performed. Copies of his works were possessed by, among others, Jan Dismas Zelenka. Brixi mastered all the styles and techniques of his time, ranging from rigorous counterpoint to elements of the nascent Galant style. The works are arranged on the album in a one-day liturgical arch, with the morning mass followed by litanies and the canticle Magnificat from vespers, which owing to its style and high technical requirements may bring to mind Zelenka's music. Made up of superlative soloists, Hipocondria Ensemble bring back to life Šimon Brixi's overlooked works. Their recording of the Magnificat is the first made on historical instruments.
Šimon Brixi - a composer whose music deserves a second life after three centuries.
“Au matin, les brefs numéros de la Messe en ré, seulement accompagnés de violons et du continuo, panachent contrepoint distingué, choeurs homophoniques et airs à la belle veine mélodique. L’Ensemble Hipocondria en cisèle les contours, surveillant l’élégance des lignes et de la palette en même temps qu’il illumine la cérémonie d’une ferveur intérieure.” Diapason, December 2021
“These are highly respectable performances. If they are not quite to the standard of the finest early music ensembles, they are not far behind.” American Record Guide, January/February 2022
“The Hipocondria Ensemble is excellent, both vocally and instrumentally. Brixi's music is performed according to its character as ensemble music: the solo parts are performed by members of the choir. This guarantees an optimum coherence between soli and tutti. Both Hana Blažíková and Jaromír Nosek deliver outstanding performances of their respective solos. Šimon Brixi's music is a most impressive and enjoyable specimen of the rich musical culture of 18th-century Bohemia.” Musica Dei donum, March 2022
“The vocalists all have pleasant voices, and the ensemble plays well… This fine presentation of an unfamiliar composer is not mortally wounded by the omission, and the disc can be recommended to seekers of obscure Baroque figures.” Fanfare, March/April 2022
“La direction volontariste de Jan Hádek met en valeur l’artisanat contrapuntique de l'écriture, qu‘elle pare d'une alacrité tout vivaldienne… Si la soprano et le ténor brillent respectivement dans l'Arietta, aux coloratures virtuoses, et dans le martial Alma Redemptoris Mater, les solistes du choeur interviennent avec un bonheur inégal (éprouvant contre-ténor, plage 35), sans nuire à l'intérêt de cette découverte. ” Classica, May 2022