The unaccompanied choral pieces by Pedro Rimonte on this album were published in Antwerp in 1604. The music came from the seat of the Spanish Netherlandish court of the Archduchess Isabella and her Austrian husband, Albert. Rimonte was a chorister and later a chapelmaster at the court, whose other employees included the painter Rubens. That offers an intriguing case study in the difficulty of drawing connections between music and visual art. Does Rimonte's music sound like the paintings of Rubens look? Not really, although both were generally motivated by the impulse of the Catholic Counter Reformation as it played out in the northern countries. The style of the Missa pro defunctis or Requiem mass recorded here is that of Tomás Luís de Victoria, made somewhat more elaborate by the addition of richer dissonances and intriguing devices such as quotation of the opening chant within the movement itself. It's not luxuriant like Rubens, but it is somewhat expansive; another possible model is Palestrina, whose music Rimonte knew and used in parody masses. The mass receives a very rich performance here from the two-voices-per-part group La Hispanoflamenca, and it's a valuable addition to the late Renaissance repertory. The recording also includes motets called absoluciones that were performed at the end of the mass. These pieces, in which chant and polyphony alternate but do not interpenetrate, are especially effective. A roughly contextual performance of the mass is completed by the inclusion of organ works by the similarly little-known Sebastián Aguilera de Heredia. The booklet essay comes in English, French, Spanish, Dutch, and German versions, and it goes into quite a bit of background about these two obscure composers.
Pedro Rimonte: Requiem; Sebastián Aguilera de Heredia: Organ Works Review
by James Manheim