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Hyperion Records

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Fifteenth-century English alabaster sculpture 'Our Lady of Westminster'.
Photograph by Malcolm Crowthers
Track(s) taken from CDH55376
Recording details: March 1994
Westminster Cathedral, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Antony Howell
Release date: October 1994
Total duration: 4 minutes 51 seconds

'Stunning examples of Victoria's most expressive and dramatic writing … having just listened to this recording again my ears are ringing and my heart is uplifted: a perfect tonic for the bleaker part of winter' (Gramophone)

'A fervent sigh at the serenity and sheer beauty of it all' (Choir & Organ)

'Assolutamente riuscito, assolutamente strepitoso, assolutamente unico' (Musica, Italy)

Ave regina caelorum a 5
1572; Venice; 5vv
author of text
Antiphon to the Blessed Virgin Mary, from the Feast of the Purification until the Wednesday in Holy Week

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Ave regina caelorum was originally used in the liturgy to precede and follow the chanting of a Psalm. It is now sung at the end of compline from the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary until the Wednesday in Holy Week. Victoria’s five-part setting of this antiphon was first published in 1572 in Venice and republished in 1576 by Angelo Gardane, brother of Alessandro. Much of the musical material is derived from the compline plainsong, some of it loosely paraphrased. The opening point in all parts comes from the first phrase of the plainsong and this is used again by the soprano and bass for ‘Ave domina’. The Secunda Pars begins in a lively manner with the upper three parts using a lightly ornamented version of the plainsong ‘Gaude’ melody over a bass pedal. The last section begins with close imitation in all parts drawn from the plainsong melody for ‘et pro nobis’ and the motet ends with a brilliant and joyful cascade of interlocking cambiata figures rounded off with one of Victoria’s most characteristic endings, a peaceful, short coda in the subdominant.

from notes by Jon Dixon © 1994

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