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Hyperion Records

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Portrait of Elizabeth I.
The Deanery, Westminster Abbey / Copyright © Dean and Chapter of Westminster
Track(s) taken from CDA67704
Recording details: June 2008
All Hallows, Gospel Oak, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Jeremy Summerly
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: October 2008
Total duration: 17 minutes 26 seconds

'The beauties of this disc of 16th century choral music are many and various. The repertoire's selection and arrangement is inspired, the singing some of the best I've heard on CD … as a showcase for English choral singing at its most charismatic, this deserves to be widely heard' (Gramophone)

'The Choir of Westminster Abbey sings fresh, committed and emotionally compelling accounts. Many overpowering moments take place during Mundy's Vox Patris Caelestis … James O'Donnell shapes vocal lines with a keen sense of drama … the brilliance of the programming matches that of the singing' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Sheppard's sublime Libera nos unfolds like a hothouse flower amid other blooms from Tye, Tallis, Mundy and White' (The Observer)

'This latest addition to Hyperion's excellent Westminster Abbey series presents a fascinating snapshot of the musical upheavals created by Queen Mary's death and Elizabeth I's accession in 1558. Sheppard's Second Evening Service, composed in that year in a syllabic yet sonorously polyphonic style, marks the watershed between richly textured and highly elaborated Latin pieces, such as Mundy's Vox Patris caelestis, and the beautiful simplicity of Byrd's Teach me, O Lord. Recusant musical activity is also represented by Byrd's profoundly moving Ne irascaris' (The Daily Telegraph)

'The energy in the boys' voices is thrilling: they sear through the complex texture with evangelical zeal … this recording showcases the contrasts of style which made the 16th century such a fertile period of composition, and shows how the tradition of singing services at Westminster Abbey has continued unbroken for so many centuries' (Early Music Review)

'This is spectacularly fine singing, with James O'Donnell's obvious affection for the repertoire drawing from both boys and men some exquisite performances … the Westminster choir's most beautiful release to date' (International Record Review)

'In this brilliantly conceived programme … O'Donnell's superlative choir are peerless' (The Sunday Times)

Vox Patris caelestis
composer
possibly written for the Feast of the Assumption as celebrated at the church of St-Mary-at-Hill in the City of London
author of text
after Song of Songs

Other recordings available for download
The Tallis Scholars, Peter Phillips (conductor)
The Tallis Scholars, Peter Phillips (conductor)
The Tallis Scholars, Peter Phillips (conductor)
The Sixteen, Harry Christophers (conductor)
Magnificat, Philip Cave (conductor)
Vox Patris caelestis was written during Queen Mary’s reign (1553–1558) and so is exactly contemporary with the Missa Papae Marcelli. It can be so precisely dated because it was written in a style which was unacceptable to the Protestant Tudor monarchs – Edward VI and Elizabeth I – and Mundy was too young to have written it in Henry VIII’s reign. The Catholic musical style which Mary encouraged was a very different one from the Papacy’s ideal in the 1550s: Mundy composed on an enormous scale and to him the audibility of the words was of secondary importance beside the free expansion of the melodies, though he clearly appreciated the sensual connotations of his text, which is adapted from the Song of Solomon, as in, for instance, the repetitions of the word ‘Veni’.

The underlying structure of the music is of the greatest importance to its effect, and for this reason we have printed the words divided into their sections. The solos build gradually to the three full sections, of which the last is the climax on the words ‘Veni, veni, veni: caelesti gloria coronaberis. Amen’. To build the more strongly to this last full section, the solo sections also increase in intensity, the last of them using the most spectacular scoring of voices which was available: two trebles, two means and two basses.

from notes by Peter Phillips © 1980


Other albums featuring this work
'Allegri: Miserere; Palestrina: Missa Papae Marcelli; Mundy: Vox Patris caelestis' (CDGIM339)
Allegri: Miserere; Palestrina: Missa Papae Marcelli; Mundy: Vox Patris caelestis
'Allegri: Miserere; Palestrina: Missa Papae Marcelli; Mundy: Vox Patris caelestis' (GIMSE401)
Allegri: Miserere; Palestrina: Missa Papae Marcelli; Mundy: Vox Patris caelestis
MP3 £5.49FLAC £5.49ALAC £5.49Buy by post £6.75 GIMSE401  Gimell (budget price)  
'Mundy: Sacred Choral Music' (CDH55086)
Mundy: Sacred Choral Music
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £5.50 CDH55086  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'The Tallis Scholars Live in Oxford' (CDGIM998)
The Tallis Scholars Live in Oxford
MP3 £7.99FLAC £7.99ALAC £7.99Buy by post £11.75 Studio Master: FLAC 24-bit 44.1 kHz £12.00ALAC 24-bit 44.1 kHz £12.00 CDGIM998  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
'The Sixteen & The Golden Age of Polyphony' (CDS44401/10)
The Sixteen & The Golden Age of Polyphony
MP3 £35.00FLAC £35.00ALAC £35.00Buy by post £38.50 CDS44401/10  10CDs Boxed set (at a special price)  
'The Tudors at Prayer' (CKD447)
The Tudors at Prayer
MP3 £8.00FLAC £10.00ALAC £10.00 Studio Master: FLAC 24-bit 96 kHz £18.00ALAC 24-bit 96 kHz £18.00 CKD447  Download only   Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

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