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Hyperion Records

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The Dead Christ (c1480-1490) by Andrea Mantegna (c1431-1506)
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan / Alinari / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67959
Recording details: August 2010
Kloster Pernegg, Waldviertel, Austria
Produced by Colin Mason
Engineered by Markus Wallner
Release date: August 2012
Total duration: 3 minutes 8 seconds

'Not only do the performances here range from genuine tenderness … to majestic splendour, but the balance is perfect and the melodic lines are absolutely clear, so that every detail of Richafort's remarkable contrapuntal writing can be heard … the other works on the disc are given similarly wonderful performances … Cinquecento's imploring rendition of the masterpiece that is Miserere mei, Deus is surely perfect in the way it balances a profound understanding, and projection, of its intricate counterpoint with its vast melodic sweep … if I could nominate this recording as 'Outstanding' twice over, I would do, for I have run out of superlatives. It is, quite simply, sublime' (International Record Review)

'Cinquecento's sound has a magic of its own' (Gramophone)

'Cinquecento give a more finely blended and balanced performance than I have yet heard from them, with spacious legato lines, breadth of vision and appreciation of the architecture and majestic solemnity of Richafort's 6-part polyphony, framed by gorgeous works by Josquin, his probable master. Vividly sung and recorded' (Choir & Organ)

'Musically inspired by Josquin, this is a majestic, expansive requiem … the shades of mourning are illuminated by moments of light and serenity—glimpses of a sublime hereafter. Cinquecento captures the work's meditative quality to profound effect, the all-male vocal ensemble creating an aptly plangent sonority and a tone of high seriousness … the group can also produce all the opulence and bloom of a much larger ensemble. Throughout, the singing is exquisitely controlled: arching polyphonic lines are beautifully shaped, textural contrasts subtly enhanced, never over-dramatised, and the voices—silken and effortless—seem to be suspended in amber' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Stephen Rice’s authoritative booklet notes are a valuable resource when it comes to placing the music in its historical context and delving further into the complexities of its creation, but the expressive warmth and sonority of Cinquecento’s voices, superbly recorded, are the source to which you will want to return for more and more. Superbly unified, the dynamic shading which brings forth leading voice lines and gently points to significant harmonic shifts are done so naturally that the music seems to enter your soul through some kind of osmosis rather than something so banal as mere listening' (MusicWeb International)

Faulte d'argent
composer
5vv
author of text

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Despite its later use by Richafort, Josquin’s Faulte d’argent is far less musically lugubrious than Nymphes, nappés, underlining its parodic tone. The opening intertwines the contratenor and bassus voices in a closely imitative duet, while the discantus and tenor follow after four-and-a-half breves. Although their melodic material is the same in essence as the two preceding voices, the second duet imitates much more loosely, at a distance of three semibreves rather than a single minim. The tenor is in canon with an unnotated quinta pars (the singer would simply use the tenor’s music, applying a lower clef and beginning when the tenor arrives at a marked point), which follows three breves later at the lower fifth, so that the full five-voice texture is not heard until the tenth breve of the chanson (which lasts only 72 breves in total). This canonic structure determines the later interaction of the voices, providing a form of call-and-response texture as upper voices accompany the tenor, and lower ones the quinta pars. The final line (‘Femme qui dort …’) reprises the music of the opening.

from notes by Stephen Rice © 2012

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