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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 23 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)

Heu mihi, Domine
4vv; Liber primus ecclesiasticarum cantionum quatuor vocum (Antwerp: Susato, 1553). RISM 1553/8
author of text
Fifth respond at Matins for the Dead, adapted

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Heu mihi, Domine makes expressive use of the rising minor sixth, and then reverts to the trusted formula of the semitone upper auxiliary note at ‘quia peccavi nimis’ (‘for I have sinned greatly’), before bringing the rising fourth and downward scale into play (‘Quid faciam miser?’—‘What shall I do, miserable?’). With homophony and expressive suspensions at ‘Ubi fugiam?’ (‘Where should I flee?’), the first section of this piece offers a catalogue of the devices used by Clemens and his contemporaries to bring out sorrowful feelings in their motet texts.

from notes by Stephen Rice © 2010

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