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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67435
Recording details: February 2003
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: January 2004
Total duration: 6 minutes 27 seconds

'Jeffrey Skidmore and his ensemble's expertise has long been established and is everywhere apparent here. The blend of the vocal line is superb and the handling of ornament is little short of breathtaking. In short, an issue to treasure' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Skidmore once again demonstrates his total empathy with French Baroque repertoire, inspiring his large choral forces to performances that capture a huge gamut of emotions ranging from thrilling grandeur to heartbreaking sublimity. The issue is a magnificent achievement all round' (Fanfare, USA)

'Ex Cathedra's choirs and soloists sound ravishing … Skidmore's conducting results in a performance containing breadth and relaxed phrasing, which in turn allow emotion to shine through the complex polyphony' (Goldberg)

'The brilliance of this work is expertly captured by Ex Cathedra directed by Jeffrey Skidmore. The choral sound is excellent, whether in the well-managed polychoral exchanges or in the full passages, and the solo singing is very accomplished' (Early Music)

Salve regina à trois chœurs
author of text
Antiphon to the Virgin Mary from Trinity until Advent

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
In the Salve regina à trois chœurs, the third choir is treated differently from the other two. Whereas they are in four parts, this is in three parts only. Moreover, it enters only at the second section and is consistently labelled ‘exules’ (‘exiles’). These factors, together with the soloistic nature of the individual lines, support the idea that this ‘choir’ was a trio of soloists. The term ‘exules’ might further suggest that it was spatially separated from the others. The work falls into three sections. The first is characterized by a clear reference to the Salve regina plainsong in the opening vocal entries. In the second, Charpentier graphically paints the emotive text; at the reference to ‘this valley of tears’ there is a chromatic descent in all parts resulting in strikingly dissonant harmonies. It was surely such expressive harmony that inspired Serré de Rieux to comment (1734) that ‘ninths and tritones sparkled in [Charpentier’s] hands’. Towards the end of the Salve regina, repetitions of the apostrophe ‘O’ are grouped in threes and scored in turn for the whole ensemble, then the first choir, and finally the ‘exiles’, producing a double-echo effect.

from notes by Shirley Thompson © 2004

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