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Hyperion Records

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St John the Evangelist (from the St Thomas altarpiece) by Pedro Burruguete (c1450-1504)
Convent of St Thomas, Avila / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDH55407
Recording details: February 1999
Westminster Cathedral, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Release date: August 1999
Total duration: 7 minutes 24 seconds

'For sheer beauty of sound this recording is unsurpassed' (Gramophone)

'Missa Ecce ego Johannes bristles with enough energy to power the National Grid and the breathtaking authority, drive and power few other groups can emulate brings them thrillingly close to religious ecstasy' (Choir & Organ)

'Joyous performances' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Even among the Westminster Cathedral Choir's superb records this disc stands out. Perfect chording and ensemble, natural and musical phrasing, spot-on intonation and a glorious tonal blend, make this issue one to treasure' (The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs)

'Under James O'Donnell, Westminster Cathedral Choir has developed into what many regard as the nation's finest church choir. This release justifies that reputation. Palestrina's music emerges as more than the stuff of academic legend. There's a vibrancy in the opening Laudate pueri, while Peccantem me quotidie and Tribulationes civitatum both touch deep emotions, and the Mass Ecce ego Johannes radiates noble majesty. We are reminded that Palestrina was a highly individual composer, and every bit as Italian as, say, Monteverdi' (The Sunday Times)

'The listener can rejoice in the sumptuousness of the Westminster Cathedral sound with none of the anxiety over niggling imperfections that one suffers when hearing almost any other ensemble. The combination of accuracy with mastery of style is unrivalled' (Gramophone Early Music)

'Yet another superb disc from Westminster Cathedral … many consider not only the finest cathedral choir in Britain, but one of the best in the world. The sound is quite glorious' (Goldberg)

'This work could not be better sung than, as here, by the choir of Westminster Cathedral' (Contemporary Review)

Tribulationes civitatum
1584; 5vv; Motectorum liber quintus, Rome
author of text
Seventh Respond at Matins

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Tribulationes civitatum appeared in the 1584 Motectorum liber quintus, published in Rome, and makes use of soaring melodic phrases and quite abrupt harmonic and textural contrasts: the block chords at ‘Timor’, for example, which clearly make the word stand out, or the subsequent harmonic change at ‘et super liberos’. At the end of the first part there is a real sense of imploring for mercy at the words ‘Domine miserere’, characterized by a descending motif. In the second part such procedures are continued; most remarkable of all is the sudden harmonic stasis caused by the use of pedal notes at ‘iniuste egimus’; this is followed by two sequential descents onto bare fifths at ‘iniquitatem fecimus’.

from notes by Ivan Moody © 1999

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