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Hyperion Records

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Winter by Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527-1593)
Private Collection, © Agnew's, London / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67658
Recording details: August 2007
Wallfahrtskirche, St Wolfgang bei Weitra, Austria
Produced by Stephen Rice
Engineered by Markus Wallner
Release date: May 2008
Total duration: 4 minutes 51 seconds

'The music is beautifully performed and well worth a listen; Monte's settings are full of variety and fruity chromaticisms, and Cinquecento more than does him justice' (Choir & Organ)

'Their performances make it clear that Monte is a composer of distinction' (BBC Music Magazine)

'An enticing snapshot of [Monte's] musical personality. Detailed word-painting and an imaginatively dramatic response to his texts' changing moods are displayed in pieces such as Ad te levavi and Miserere mei' (The Daily Telegraph)

'An impassioned and beautiful performance by Cinquecento … the exceptional blend of voices and unified approach to phrasing augur well for their future as great interpreters of Renaissance music … a marvellous affinity for Monte … they have no need of a conductor to achieve lovely long phrases full of warmth and life … the individual voices are all lovely, and the countertenors float above the texture without dominating it' (Early Music Review)

'An unusually gifted ensemble, both vocally and musically … here is a group whose tone, vocal flexibility, collective and individual musicianship and commitment to their chosen repertoire places them at the very forefront of modern-day specialists in the performance of Renaissance vocal music … a disc which is not only a real treat to the ears but a most valuable and worthwhile exposé of little-known repertoire … unfailingly compelling and absorbing performances … it is the Mass which, at 25 minutes, dominates the disc and shows most obviously the many strengths of this outstanding vocal ensemble … at the start of the Kyrie, for example, we have a layered texutre the subtle balance of which, while seeming entirely natural, must have taken a great deal of effort to achieve. As it unfolds there is the impression of clouds parting to reveal a vast landscape as viewed from a montain top, a sense of spaciousness and a grandeur which is profoundly moving. This is a veritable jewel of a disc' (International Record Review)

'Beautifully blended sound by a young pan-European vocal sextet, rich with character and individuality in rare 16th-century polyphony' (Classic FM Magazine)

Fratres, ego enim accepi
author of text
1 Corinthians 11: 23-4; Magnificat Antiphon at First Vespers on Corpus Christi

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
In Fratres, ego enim accepi, Monte brings together two texts from different sources to create a somewhat unusual amalgam: a part-Biblical and part-prayer motet. The first section sets words of St Paul to the church in Corinth, which echo the Words of Institution of Communion from the three synoptic Gospels; the second, a fourteenth-century antiphon, focuses attention on the transubstantiated bread itself and thus indicates the suitability of the piece specifically for the feast of Corpus Christi. The two halves of the motet are quite strongly differentiated, with the Biblical story—even its most sacred words—being treated as a pacy narrative, whereas the antiphon text ‘O how sweet, Lord, is your spirit!’ is significantly calmer and more mellifluous. The effect is of the fourteenth-century words, still by no means antique in Monte’s day, acting as a commentary or gloss on the scripture. Notable text expression in the first part includes the use of rapid notes for the word ‘fregit’ (‘broke’), perhaps symbolizing the action of bread becoming crumbs, but referring also to the music-theoretical concept of small notes as ‘broken’ or (in early modern English parlance) ‘cracked’.

from notes by Stephen Rice © 2008

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