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Hyperion Records

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Photograph of Westminster Cathedral by Malcolm Crowthers
Track(s) taken from CDH55335
Recording details: June 1988
Westminster Cathedral, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Antony Howell
Release date: May 1989
Total duration: 3 minutes 33 seconds

'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)

O rex gloriae
4vv; 1563; Motecta festorum totius anni; 1569; Liber primus motettorum
author of text
Magnificat Antiphon at Second Vespers on the Feast of the Ascension

O rex gloriae is a motet for Ascension and was published initially in the now lost 1563 book Motecta festorum totius anni … but subsequently reprinted elsewhere. The joyful element of the Ascension is what gives this motet its character: the phrase ‘qui triumphator hodie super omnes caelos’, for example, is given pointed emphasis by being resonantly set in homophony after the consistently contrapuntal texture of the music up to that point. The phrase is nevertheless then developed contrapuntally and dominates the central part of the motet. This is dramatically followed by the other face of the Ascension—Christ’s parting from mankind—in the semitonally inflected phrase at ‘ne derelinquas nos orphanos’ which is subsequently echoed then varied, inverted, and expanded before a return to the triumphant mood at the final ‘Alleluia’.

from notes by Ivan Moody 1989

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