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Hyperion Records

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Front photograph by Malcolm Crowthers
Track(s) taken from CDH55448
Recording details: September 1993
Westminster Cathedral, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Antony Howell
Release date: March 1994
Total duration: 11 minutes 38 seconds

'The Westminster boys display an uncanny empathy with these miniature masterpieces. Their musicianship shines through every carefully measured phrase and dynamic' (BBC Music Magazine Top 1000 CDs Guide)

'One of the richest choral experiences of 1994' (Choir & Organ)

'A beautiful disc … a performance of the Mass which is utterly captivating … I have to confess to being completely bowled over by these gems' (CDReview)

Quatre motets pour le temps de NoŽl
composer
1952
author of text
Nos 1 & 2: Matins Reponsories for Christmas Day; No 3: Antiphon for the Octave of the Epiphany; No 4: Vespers Antiphon on Christmas Day

Other recordings available for download
Polyphony, Stephen Layton (conductor)
Westminster Abbey Choir, James O'Donnell (conductor)
Introduction
These exquisite miniatures paint four colourful scenes from the nativity story. O magnum mysterium is the most profound: slow and (by Poulenc’s standards) harmonically austere, it grows in intensity toward the final repetition of the main text, via an intimate verse in praise of the Virgin. The text of Quem vidistis makes two demands of the shepherds, set in contrasting ways by Poulenc. ‘Who did you see?’ is a cantilène accompanied by searching quaver movement; by contrast, the imperative ‘Speak … and proclaim the birth of Christ’ is a trumpet blast worthy of the annunciatory angels themselves. The crystalline refrain of Videntes stellam evokes a placid and (of course) starlit night, through which the Magi travel with burgeoning excitement; this reaches a rich climax as they enter the stable and present their gifts; outside the star shines on, undisturbed. In the final motet, Hodie Christus natus est, the faithful make their response to the news with unbuttoned exuberance: ‘Gloria in excelsis Deo’ accompanied by popping champagne corks.

from notes by Robert Quinney © 2008


Other albums featuring this work
'A Christmas Caroll from Westminster Abbey' (CDA67716)
A Christmas Caroll from Westminster Abbey
'Poulenc: Gloria & motets' (CDA67623)
Poulenc: Gloria & motets
'A Choral Christmas' (SIGCD257)
A Choral Christmas
MP3 £7.99FLAC £7.99ALAC £7.99 Studio Master: FLAC 24-bit 48 kHz £9.00ALAC 24-bit 48 kHz £9.00 SIGCD257  Download only   Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
'Christmas through the ages' (NOEL1)
Christmas through the ages
MP3 £4.50FLAC £4.50ALAC £4.50 NOEL1  Super-budget price sampler — Download only  

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