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Hyperion Records

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Christ's Charge to Peter by Raphael (1483-1520)
Victoria & Albert Museum, London / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67933
Recording details: August 2011
The Church of St Michael and All Angels, Summertown, Oxford, United Kingdom
Produced by Antony Pitts
Engineered by Justin Lowe
Release date: June 2012
Total duration: 11 minutes 8 seconds

'This gorgeous album presents all the works for eight voices which are certainly attributable to Mouton, plus one for five and two for four voices … these pieces are refreshingly airy and transparent. Mouton's exquisite music and The Brabant Ensemble's graceful performances are well-served by Antony Pitts' production and the acoustic of St Michael and All Angels, Oxford … highly recommended' (BBC Music Magazine)

'This outstanding disc by the youthful Brabant Ensemble, accomplished specialists in this repertoire … the Brabant's singing throughout is polished, flexible, lean and—exactly what you want here—transcendent' (The Observer)

'Mouton is given due attention and polish in these performances by The Brabant Ensemble. Such ingeniously structured pieces as the motet Nesciens mater are impressive in their richness of texture, and the main work, the Missa Tu es Petrus, deploys the voices in expressively fluent counterpoint' (The Daily Telegraph)

'The lucidity of both The Brabant Ensemble's singing and Rice's direction is hugely accomplished … [Missa Tu es Petrus is] a work of radiance and clarity … strikingly well sung … Hyperion is still setting the standard in this infinitely rewarding repertory' (International Record Review)

Verbum bonum et suave
author of text
Sequence Hymn on the Feast of the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Verbum bonum et suave is one of the longest motets written at this time, and since it is also for eight voices, certainly one of the most elaborate. Mouton’s setting is melodically based on a Sequence, a form of rhymed plainchant, sung between the Alleluia and the Gospel during Mass, whose texts were written from the ninth century onwards and set monophonically more or less from that time onwards. This particular Sequence melody, which dates probably from the eleventh century, had attracted the attention of polyphonic composers from an early stage—there is for instance a version in two-part discant in the thirteenth-century manuscript known as ‘W1’ (Wolfenbüttel, Herzog-August Bibliothek, MS Guelf.628 Helmst.), and a fragmentary setting that is possibly even older was discovered at Netherbury, Dorset, in the 1960s. Mouton’s was the last generation of musicians to have liturgical reason to set most of the Sequence texts, including this one, since with four exceptions the singing of Sequences was abolished by the Council of Trent. The text of Verbum bonum, written for the Feast of the Annunciation (25 March) is set in three pairs of strophes rhyming AAAB/ CCCB. Musically speaking, the polyphony is set in varying antiphonal subgroups, with each strophe articulated with a cadence of some significance: the break between prima and secunda pars in fact occurs halfway through the second pair of strophes, which disrupts the rhyme scheme a little but allows for a climax on the words ‘laudant puerperium’ (‘honour the childbirth’) which complete the prima pars. At the very end of the piece, the elaborate Amen is a fitting conclusion to this monumental structure.

from notes by Stephen Rice © 2012

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