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Hyperion Records

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Photograph of Winchester Cathedral by Derek Forss
Track(s) taken from CDH55348
Recording details: November 1995
Winchester Cathedral, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Release date: June 1996
Total duration: 3 minutes 55 seconds

'A generously full CD, spaciously recorded in Winchester Cathedral. The main feature is the rapt, joyous singing of the choir in this magnificent music. Very fine' (Hi-Fi News)

'Le chœur de Winchester est d'une infinie souplesse, d'une clarté d'élocution et d'une transparence remarquables, justement restituées par une prise de son limpide. Des pages parmi les plus grandes de William Byrd, servies par une interprétation du plus haut niveau' (Répertoire, France)

Cibavit eos
4vv; Gradualia, 1605
author of text
Introit for the Feast of Corpus Christi

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Feast of Corpus Christi commemorates the institution and gift of the Holy Eucharist, traditionally celebrated in the Western Church on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. (In the early church this commemoration was held on its natural day in the Christian calendar, Maundy Thursday, on which the Eucharist was instituted at the Last Supper; however, in reserving this day as part of the Passion ceremonies, a new feast day was recognized in 1264 and set on the first free Thursday after Eastertide.) The texts reflect a sacrificial tone as befits the Corpus Christi celebrations, embodying the imagery of the ingestion of blood and body. As the medieval symbol of the Body of Christ illustrates, the mother Pelican’s beak penetrates her own breast, giving life-blood to benefit the hunger of her young. Ironically, Byrd chose the bright and cheerful mixolydian mode for his setting. The Introit Cibavit eos is delightfully radiant, and celebrates the biblical miracle of wheat and honey from the rock. Here the antiphon is followed by a Psalm verse (80:1) for reduced voices, and an energetic and semi-homophonic setting of the doxology (‘Gloria Patri’) with a deliberate break before the ‘Sicut erat’, quite typical in Byrd’s Introit settings. As the liturgy would dictate, the antiphon is repeated at the end of the work (although this is not directed in the printed sources).

from notes by David Skinner © 1996

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