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Hyperion Records

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Sibyl (c1540) by Francesco Ubertini Verdi Bachiacca (c1494-1557)
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67887
Recording details: September 2010
The Chapel of Harcourt Hill campus, Oxford Brookes University, United Kingdom
Produced by Jeremy Summerly
Engineered by Justin Lowe
Release date: August 2011
Total duration: 4 minutes 48 seconds

'The Brabant Ensemble's singers sound thoroughly engaged in their tribute to Lassus, with a rich tone-spectrum allowing for maximum appreciation of his fluid, elegant polyphony' (Choir & Organ)

'They certainly are astonishing in their harmonic daring, moving from C major via G major and B major to C sharp minor in the bat of an eyelid, and are wonderfully captured here by the suavely assured Brabant Ensemble under scholarly Stephen Rice. The prologue and 12 movements that make up Prophetiae Sibyllarum are joined by a Mass, a magnificat and three marvellous motets, including the sumptuous Tristis est anima mea. Listen and be moved' (The Observer)

'The performances throughout are wonderfully persuasive, with nothing arch or affected in the way in which the texts are presented; expressively, music that is as highly wrought as any of its time is made to seem completely natural' (The Guardian)

'In his day, de Lassus was more celebrated than his contemporary Palestrina and even more prolific, although today their relative pre-eminence is reversed. This disc is typically representative of The Brabant Ensemble's intention to record and promulgate somewhat lesser-known music from the first half of the sixteenth century. Devotees of the period will welcome its austere, otherworldly beauty' (MusicWeb International)

Tristis est anima mea
5vv SATTB; published in Altera pars selectissimarum cantionum, quas vulgo motetas vocant ..., Nuremberg, 1579
author of text
Second Responsory at Matins on Maundy Thursday, after Matthew 26

Other recordings available for download
Magnificat, Philip Cave (conductor)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Tristis est anima mea, which sets Christ’s meditation in the Garden of Gethsemane from St Matthew’s Gospel, is one of Lassus’s most dramatic narrative motets, changing mood every few bars and illustrating the text closely. The opening slow section defines the mood and also the unusually wide tessitura of the piece, from low F in the bass to soprano high G. ‘Sustinete hic’ (‘remain here’) is set to a rising syncopated phrase, dragging itself upward in contrast to the sleeping disciples. At ‘Nunc videbitis turbam’ the story-telling becomes more urgent, with block chords and a heavy tread representing the oncoming crowd. The most direct word-painting is at ‘circumdabit me’, with circling melodies as the crowd surrounds Jesus. The disciples, however, melt away (‘vos fugam capietis’), the vocal lines descending slowly and dissonantly but without drawing attention to themselves, while Jesus goes to his death (‘et ego vadam immolari’), the energy of the piece dissipating onto the last chord, which is stretched wide across the tessitura as Jesus was on the Cross. The entire motet is a remarkable display of compositional virtuosity in the service of text expression, and is rightly famed as an example of the new musical aims towards which the late Renaissance was heading by the end of Lassus’s life.

from notes by Stephen Rice İ 2011

Other albums featuring this work
'The Golden Age, Vol. 1 – Europe' (CKD052)
The Golden Age, Vol. 1 – Europe
MP3 £8.00FLAC £10.00ALAC £10.00 CKD052  Download only  

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