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Hyperion Records

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Jesus appears to the disciples together under one roof.
Biblioteca Reale, Turin. Codex de Predis, Italian, 15th century, folio 137r / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDH55449
Recording details: March 2002
Westminster Cathedral, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: January 2003
Total duration: 4 minutes 14 seconds

'The renowned choir are on top form as they respond to Palestrina's majesty … highly recommended' (Gramophone)

'This is a thoughtful, carefully analysed performance—Baker and the Westminster choir communicate a clear sense of the structural logic … the singers are excellent … virtually flawless … shut your eyes and you can almost smell the incense. Very warmly recommended' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Purposeful performances by a choir for whom this music is a staple diet, and whose slightly edgy, 'continental' treble sound is ideally suited to it' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Here [Martin Baker] reinforces his reputation and that of the choir in energetic accounts of music by Palestrina celebrating Pentecost' (The Guardian)

'Palestrina's mellifluous counterpoint resonates like whipped cream in the cathedral acoustics, yet the clarity and sensitivity of texture is exemplary … delicious' (The Scotsman)

'These performances are as near peerless as is possible in an imperfect world. An essential addition to any Palestrina collection. Magnificent music, magnificently recorded' (Goldberg)

Veni Sancte Spiritus
composer
1575; book of motets
author of text

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
In the eight-part motet Veni Sancte Spiritus, Palestrina takes the antiphonal writing implicit in Dum complerentur to its logical conclusion, using the two groups in alternation to provide dramatic textural contrasts and achieving magnificent climactic moments by bringing them together again. This is striking in Veni Sancte Spiritus (a setting of the sequence from Pentecost, from the 1575 book of motets), in which one group is composed of higher voices, the other of lower. The strophic imploring of the text is marvellously conveyed by these means. Note, for example, the alternation of the choirs at ‘Consolator optime, Dulcis hospes animae, Dulce refrigerium’, and the massive full climax conveying the ‘perenne gaudium’ of the final line of the text—perfect liturgical theatre.

from notes by Ivan Moody © 2003

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