"The first decades of the 18th century do not seem to have been a period during which polyphonic music for funeral use flourished in the Southern Netherlands. The spirit of the Counter-Reformation that had given such important impetus to sacred music from the 1600s onwards had already passed its peak; although well-off parishioners increasingly ordered sumptuous burials with matching musical adornment during the first half of the 17th century, the same urban elite showed much less interest in music for funeral use after 1650. What is more, if we are to believe the Chapter of Onze-Lieve-Vrouwe in Antwerp, it had become fashionable to shun the traditional Catholic burial services around 1700: a stille zinking, a quiet deposition of the coffin, without any polyphonic musical accompaniment, had become the preference of a large part of the wealthy and less wealthy middle classes at that time. This development was naturally not limited to the Southern Netherlands; similar reports came from other regions of Europe during the 18th century, including from Johann Mattheson, who was free with his criticisms of ostentatious burial rituals and the pompous music that accompanied them.
The works on this CD illustrate how various musicians from the region, including Pierre-Hercule Brehy and Joseph-Hector(?) Fiocco, still saw a future in composing polyphonic music for funeral use. A Requiem Mass and several motets pro defunctis by Pierre-Hercule Brehy, the master of singing at the church of St-Michel et Ste-Gudule in Brussels from 1705 to 1737, have survived. A polyphonic setting of the Requiem by a certain Fiocco is to be found in the 18th century collection of music housed in the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal in Antwerp."