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Hyperion Records

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Virgin Annunciate (1450/5) by Fra Angelico (Guido di Pietro) (c1387-1455)
Detroit Institute of Arts, USA, Bequest of Eleanor Clay Ford / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67694
Recording details: September 2007
Merton College Chapel, Oxford, United Kingdom
Produced by Jeremy Summerly
Engineered by Justin Lowe
Release date: September 2008
Total duration: 6 minutes 11 seconds

'This is the Brabant Ensemble at their most vigorous and confident … in a fast-growing discography, this is a valuable addition' (Gramophone)

'Rice and his ensemble reveal a composer of warmth and passion who could also write resplendently joyful music when required … the whole recital is marked by an extraordinary unanimity of ensemble, security of intonation and intelligence that surpass all rivals in the repertory. In short, this is a valuable and exquisitely sung addition to the Morales discography' (International Record Review)

'Music of astonishing beauty and rapt polyphonic intensity, which the voices of the Brabant Ensemble unfold with perfect poise' (The Guardian)

'The Magnficat setting glows with power, and the three Lamentations have a grave beauty impossible to resist with the radiant tone and golden blend of Stephen Rice's Brabant Ensemble. The wise selection focuses on material underexposed elsewhere' (The Times)

'The young Oxford choir turns its immaculate ensemble, lucid diction and faultless tuning to the Spanish composer Morales. His Lamentations flow with exquisite sadness … the lines blend like threads in a tapestry … the selection of motets is rich with dynamic contrast, expressivity and downright beautiful singing' (Classic FM Magazine)

'This first-rate recording makes an important contribution not only for its exceptional performances, but in its thoughtful programming … essential' (ClassicsToday.com)

Gaude et laetare, Ferrariensis civitas
composer
6vv; first performed in Ferrara Cathedral on 9 March 1539
author of text
in honour of Ippolito II d'Este (1509-1572)

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Many of Morales’s motets employ a structural device such as cantus firmus, canon or ostinato. One such is the state motet Gaude et laetare, Ferrariensis civitas, performed in Ferrara Cathedral on Sunday 9 March 1539 to celebrate the award of a cardinal’s hat to Ippolito II d’Este, younger brother of the then Duke of Ferrara, Ercole II. Here the first alto part sings the same text throughout: ‘I shall magnify your name for ever’, which forms the last line of the main motet text. As is common for Morales, the ostinato is presented at two pitches a fifth apart, alternating between C and G in the original notation; it appears five times in the first half of the piece and six in the second, with a (perhaps inaudible) intensifying effect of reducing the number of bars’ rest between statements such that one ostinato takes sixteen bars in the first half and fifteen in the second.

from notes by Stephen Rice © 2008

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