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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 50 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)

Magnificat quarti toni a 4 [odd]
composer
1591; 4vv; Magnificat octo tonum liber primus, Rome; Haberl 27:15
author of text
Luke 1: 46-55

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
This Magnificat is one of five which Palestrina wrote in Tone 4. He set the text of the Magnificat, in fact, no fewer than thirty-five times; sixteen of them appeared in the Magnificat octo tonum liber primus published in Rome in 1591. It is a pity indeed that they are nowadays somewhat little known, for they are quintessential Palestrina: the servant of the Church quietly writing magnificent music which speaks directly to mankind even—and perhaps especially—today.

from notes by Ivan Moody © 1999

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