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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67479
Recording details: February 2004
Westminster Cathedral, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: October 2004
Total duration: 4 minutes 34 seconds

'The choir of Westminster Cathedral has long been noted for its distinctive Continental-style tone, which gives its performances of Latin sacred polyphony an attractively distinctive quality. This magnificent recording, which shows off Victoria's mastery of the art of writing music for up to three choirs in the grandest possible manner, suggests that 2004 is a vintage year for them … recordings of Renaissance polyphony rarely come much better than this' (The Daily Telegraph)

'the choir is radiant in its home acoustic, and Martin Baker's well-researched decision to employ an understated organ 'continuo' adds small but telling touches of colour to the texture' (International Record Review)

'It is ideally suited to the full-throated, vibrant singing of the Westminster Cathedral Choir, while Martin Baker's finely controlled direction displays a keen architectural sense … A wonderful disc' (Goldberg)

Ave regina caelorum a 8
composer
8vv; published in Rome in 1581 by Dominico Basa
author of text
Antiphon to the Blessed Virgin Mary, from the Feast of the Purification until the Wednesday in Holy Week

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The eight-part Ave Regina caelorum was originally used in the liturgy as an antiphon to precede and follow the chanting of a Psalm. It is now sung as a motet at the end of Compline in the period from Purification until the Wednesday in Holy Week. Victoria wrote a five-part setting of the antiphon which was published in Venice in 1576 by Angelo Gardane, and he subsequently wrote an eight-part version, which was published in Rome in 1581 by Dominico Basa. The double-choir version, like the five-part, opens with stately figures derived from the Compline plainsong, sometimes loosely paraphrased, to produce an impressive and sonorous chordal structure, which gives way at the end of the first half to some lively passagework setting the words ‘from whence came the light of the world’. The second half of the motet begins with some joyous antiphonal exchanges in triple time illustrating the words ‘Rejoice, O glorious one, splendid above all other’ and ends in a more sombre mood with wonderful rich eight-part counterpoint to the words ‘plead always for us with Christ’.

from notes by Jon Dixon © 2004

Other albums featuring this work
'Victoria: Ave regina caelorum & other sacred music' (SACDA67479)
Victoria: Ave regina caelorum & other sacred music
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