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Track(s) taken from CDH55335

Viri Galilaei

6vv; 1569; Liber primus motettorum, Rome
author of text
Part 1: Acts 1: 11; Part 2: Psalm 46 (47): 5; 102 (103): 19

Westminster Cathedral Choir, James O'Donnell (conductor)
Recording details: June 1988
Westminster Cathedral, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Antony Howell
Release date: May 1989
Total duration: 6 minutes 2 seconds

Cover artwork: Photograph of Westminster Cathedral by Malcolm Crowthers
Viri Galilaei  [2'58]
Ascendit Deus  [3'04]


'Under a new Master of Music, James O'Donnell, the Westminster Cathedral Choir are as intense and fervent as ever' (BBC Record Review)

'Such committed singing of such wonderful music makes this a CD not to be missed' (Organists' Review)

The six-part Viri Galilaei is a dramatic work, with striking use of different groupings of voices: the opening duet is succeeded by a five-voice passage, then by a high-lying quartet and a lower-pitched passage again for four voices. This continues throughout the motet, as also does the constant use of homophony (which is used to astonishing effect for dramatic purposes, for instance at the five-voiced entry at ‘Viri Galilaei’ and at ‘quid statis’). There is an excursion into more florid writing at ‘Hic Jesus’, but this again returns to homophony to great effect at ‘sic veniet’. This consistent investment in homophony is explained by the sudden dazzling cascades of descending figures at the ‘Alleluia’, which make some of the most bright and shining music Palestrina ever wrote.

from notes by Ivan Moody 1989