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Hyperion Records

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Virgin and Mary Magdalen at the foot of the Cross, detail from the Isenheim Altarpiece (c1510/15) by Matthias Grünewald (c1480-1528)
Musée d’Unterlinden, Colmar, France / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67848
Recording details: March 2010
Merton College Chapel, Oxford, United Kingdom
Produced by Antony Pitts
Engineered by Justin Lowe
Release date: January 2011
Total duration: 7 minutes 29 seconds

'The setting of Mass for the Dead understandably gets top billing, for despite its modest scale and simplicity, it is an affecting piece, as its opening movements signally testify. The Brabant Ensemble sing this with admirable clarity, assisted by a very transparent acoustic and recorded sound image' (Gramophone)

'This is the second recording by The Brabant Ensemble devoted to Clemens … together they go some way to convincing us that he was one of the better composers of the 16th century … here we get good tuning and chordal singing that glows from within' (BBC Music Magazine)

'The disc admirably addresses a gap in the market with highly expressive performances of a beautiful requiem and a series of exquisitely crafted motets, which illustrate powerfully Clemens' great gift for both melody and harmonic adventurousness and intensity of expression' (Early Music Review)

'Sympathetically recorded and with excellent booklet notes by Rice, this is another fine release by an ensemble that could be seen as stemming from the same tradition as The Tallis Scholars, i.e a chamber choir bringing before the public little-known repertoire, the worth of which it passionately believes in. It does it every bit as well, too' (International Record Review)

Erravi sicut ovis a 5
5vv; Novum et insigne opus musicum (Nuremberg: Berg & Neuber, 1558). RISM 1558/4
author of text
Psalm 118 (119): 176; 24 (25): 7, 20; 29 (30): 11–12; cantus firmus: Luke 15: 18–19

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Clemens set the text Erravi sicut ovis (‘I have wandered like a sheep’) twice, once for four voices and once for five. The five-voice setting doubles the alto register, with an ostinato repeating the Prodigal Son’s plea ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your presence: now I am not worthy to be called your son. Make me as one of your servants’. The mood in the first section is supplicatory rather than anguished, with increased intensity in the final third of the piece, at ‘quoniam speravi in te’ (‘for I have trusted in you’), where the lower three voices become more rhythmical and the tessitura rises as the prayer requests to be surrounded with joyfulness (‘circumda me laetitia’).

from notes by Stephen Rice © 2010

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