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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA66688
Recording details: June 1993
Westminster Cathedral, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Antony Howell
Release date: February 1994
Total duration: 20 minutes 10 seconds

'Elegant and imaginative… the wind-band pieces are especially gorgeous. [The Mass] receives an opulent interpretation that stands out in a rather crowded field of challengers. Highly recommended' (Gramophone)

'This is a superb record, and Hyperion must be congratulated on such an imaginative undertaking. All admirers of the Golden Age of Church Music, and all admirers of the pre-Vatican II rite, should buy a copy. All will treasure it' (Choir & Organ)

'A glorious performance… of what must rank among the greatest of Lassus's Mass settings' (Hi Fi World)

'Une merveille' (Répertoire, France)

Missa Bell' Amfitrit' altera
author of text
Ordinary of the Mass

Kyrie  [2'30] GreekEnglish
Gloria  [4'51] LatinEnglish
Credo  [7'02] LatinEnglish

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Lassus’s Missa Bell’ Amfitrit’ altera was not published during his lifetime but comes from a Munich court chapel manuscript dated 1583. It is presumably based on a madrigal that has so far remained unidentified but may be Venetian, since Amphitrite was a sea-nymph. People often look in the Mass for the pure antiphonal Venetian dialogue of two divided choirs, but in fact Lassus tends to avoid these straight contrasts, preferring interplay between groups drawn from both choirs for much of the time. All this suggests that in performance Lassus did not space his choirs too far apart, as is indeed confirmed by some of the beautiful pictures of Lassus and his musicians by the court illustrator of manuscripts. For variety’s sake, Lassus writes certain short sections of the Mass for four voices only (‘Christe eleison’, ‘Crucifixus’, ‘Benedictus’) in a more flowing contrapuntal style; the return of the full choir after these passages often has an electrifying impact, and the whole work is in a bright major mode.

from notes by Jerome Roche © 1994

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