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Hyperion Records

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Saint Sébastien by Gustave Moreau (1826-1898)
Track(s) taken from CDH55470
Recording details: January 1993
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Antony Howell
Release date: April 1993
Total duration: 11 minutes 27 seconds

'The whole disc is a bright feather in the Corydon cap' (Organists' Review)

'Une qualité d'interprétation en tous points remarquable … ceux qui aiment la musique chorale seront tout simplement comblés' (Diapason, France)

Bendita Sabedoria
1958; written for the College Chorus of Mew York University
author of text
Proverbs 1: 20, 20: 15, 4: 7, 24: 5, 3: 13; Psalm 90: 12

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
A few weeks after the first performance in Rio de Janeiro of Magnificat-Alleluia, the College Chorus of New York University under Maurice Paress gave the premiere of Villa-Lobos’s very last a cappella choral work, Bendita Sabedoria (‘Blessed Wisdom’), which was dedicated to the University and written at the suggestion of Carleton Sprague Smith. Villa-Lobos, traveller in sound across the Brazilian landscape and great teller of myths and tales, finally confronts God in six chorales which set short Latin texts of Biblical wisdom. The music is spare, ritualistic, and static, and the simplicity of the Missa São Sebastião is recalled in gentle triadic harmonies; the arching, carefully controlled vocal lines highlight and reveal rather than obscure or decorate the eternal truths of the imposing Latin dictums. Wisdom, peace, and an acceptance of the life hereafter were eventually achieved by Villa-Lobos at an altar far removed from the festivities of his Brazilian Indians, or the edifices of his Choros compositions. Like his final String Quartet (No 17) of 1957, the textual economy of Bendita Sabedoria is astonishing, and the piece closes Villa-Lobos’s vast choral output with music of touching simplicity and grace.

from notes by Simon Wright © 1993

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