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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: 2 minutes 23 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)

Gaudent in caelis animae Sanctorum
composer
6vv; paraphrase of the plainsong Magnificat Antiphon at Second Vespers for the Common of Two or more Martyrs outside Eastertide
author of text
Magnificat Antiphon at Second Vespers on the Common of Two or More Martyrs

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Gaudent in caelis animae Sanctorum combines a paraphrase of a plainsong antiphon (for the Magnificat at Second Vespers for the Common of Two or more Martyrs outside Eastertide) with canonic treatment: the chant melody is imitated at the interval of a fifth by the second lowest and second highest voices, though others also follow its contours. The use of the chant in two—occasionally more—voices thus reflects the number of martyrs celebrated, and their canonic relationship suggests God’s law linking them. The melody as reworked by Monte is similar to that in use in Habsburg territories in the sixteenth century, as preserved in a 1519 antiphoner from Passau: its canonic treatment necessitates several variations, however. The element of rejoicing is provided by the vigour of Monte’s rhythmicization of the chant melody, together with its intrinsically ‘major-key’ modality. The motet ends with a reference to the saints rejoicing without end, a point subtly underlined by the reluctance of the highest voice to make its cadence until after the other five have arrived on the final chord.

from notes by Stephen Rice © 2008

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