In the years around 1700 composers throughout Europe were exploring the glories of multi-voice counterpoint and colourful instrumentation. Henry Purcell’s grand ’Te Deum and Jubilate’ were composed in 1694 to celebrate St Cecilia’s Day with trumpets blazing. Francisco Valls was organist of Barcelona Cathedral, and spread no fewer than four ‘choirs’ (three vocal and one instrumental) around the building in his extraordinary ‘Missa Scala Aretina’ of 1702. And in about 1715 the Italian Domenico Scarlatti produced one of the choral masterpieces of the 18th century in his highly dramatic and original ’Stabat Mater’ in ten vocal parts.
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