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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: 5 minutes 46 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)

Musae Jovis
composer
4vv
author of text
In Josquinum a prato, Musicorum principem, Monodia

Other recordings available for download
The King's Singers
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The poem Musae Jovis, by Gerard Avidius, adopts a standard neo-Latin approach to the theme of death, contrasting earthly lament at the loss of the composer with the rejoicing in the heavens at his recruitment to the celestial choirs. The fact that this is couched in terms of Roman rather than Christian theology does not appear to have upset contemporary sensibilities.

Benedictus Appenzeller spent at least fifteen years in the service of Mary of Hungary, younger sister of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and regent of the Netherlands, at her court in Brussels. (Condé-sur-Escaut, where Josquin had spent his last years, is approximately fifty miles to the southwest.) Appenzeller’s version of Musae Jovis is relatively modest in scale, for only four voices and setting only the first twelve lines of text—thus concluding on a mournful note and omitting the references to Josquin’s admission to the ranks of the immortals. It employs the Phrygian modality, considered especially suitable for lamenting. Particularly effective moments are ‘ille occidit’ towards the end of the first section of music, with alternation of upper and lower voices, and several instances of emphatic homophony to underline important text phrases. The ‘pair imitation’ with which the two lower voices begin the piece, echoed by the two upper ones, was a technique favoured by Josquin.

from notes by Stephen Rice © 2012


Other albums featuring this work
'Richafort: Requiem' (SIGCD326)
Richafort: Requiem
MP3 £6.99FLAC £6.99ALAC £6.99 Studio Master: FLAC 24-bit 96 kHz £10.50ALAC 24-bit 96 kHz £10.50 SIGCD326  Download only   Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

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