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Hyperion Records

Click cover art to view larger version
Madonna of the Magnificat by Sandro Botticelli (c1445-1510)
Uffizi Gallery, Florence / Photo: Scala
Track(s) taken from CDGIM037
Recording details: Unknown
Salle Church, Norfolk, United Kingdom
Produced by Steve C Smith & Peter Phillips
Engineered by Philip Hobbs
Release date: September 2001
Total duration: 12 minutes 20 seconds

Magnificat tertii et octavi toni
3-8vv; Magnificat tertii et octavi toni
author of text
Luke 1: 46-55

Other recordings available for download
Henry's Eight
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
From the early sixteenth century there is an increasing number of sources containing Magnificat settings arranged according to the eight ecclesiastical tones. We cannot be certain who was the first individual composer to create a whole cycle: it may have been Sixt Dietrich of Konstanz, who published his settings in Strasbourg in 1535. But it was the popularity of the collections by Cristóbal de Morales, first published in Venice in 1542 and 1545 and going through sixteen editions by 1619, that inspired his contemporaries and successors to follow suit.

Gombert’s cycle of Magnificat settings is preserved in a unique manuscript source now in Madrid. The date of composition is unknown, though it may be that these were indeed the ‘swan-songs’ referred to by Hieronymus Cardanus. The fluidity of the polyphony certainly suggests a date from the composer’s maturity. The Magnificat octavi toni is not the eighth of the cycle but the third, titled Magnificat tertii et octavi toni. Since the third and eighth Psalm tones have similar intonations (ut-re-fa), Gombert has composed the work in such a way that the polyphonic (even-numbered) verses can alternate with the plainchant of either tone. However, in the event that tone three is required the polyphonic verses are slightly truncated in order that the endings accord with the mode (finishing on A), while a performance according to tone eight uses all the polyphony (finishing on G). (Clemens non Papa adopted a similar practice, except that his tone eight is the truncated form, tone three requiring the full polyphonic verse.) Uniquely among Gombert’s cycle, the polyphony of Magnificat tertii et octavi toni is organized so that each verse gains an additional voice, the first polyphonic verse, ‘Et exsultavit’, being in three parts, the last, ‘Sicut erat’, in eight, including a canon four in two.

from notes by John O'Donnell © 1997

Other albums featuring this work
'Gombert: Missa Tempore paschali & other sacred music' (CDH55323)
Gombert: Missa Tempore paschali & other sacred music
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £5.50 CDH55323  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'Sacred Music in the Renaissance, Vol. 3' (GIMBX303)
Sacred Music in the Renaissance, Vol. 3
MP3 £15.99FLAC £15.99ALAC £15.99Buy by post £17.50 Studio Master: FLAC 24-bit 44.1 kHz £24.00ALAC 24-bit 44.1 kHz £24.00 GIMBX303  4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)   Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

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