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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67579
Recording details: June 2006
Dominikanerkirche, Retz, Austria
Produced by Stephen Rice
Engineered by Markus Wallner
Release date: February 2007
Total duration: 33 minutes 58 seconds

'From this showing, Cinquecento would be well placed to advocate Vaet further. An all-male a cappella ensemble, they sound clear and bright, and articulate the music lucidly' (Gramophone)

'The fine motets recorded here suggest that his [Vaet] skill in achieving the closest possible union between text and music was comparable with that of Lassus. This is especially obvious in the darkly sonorous Videns Dominus, which tells the story of the raising of Lazarus, with its slow sustained evocation of Jesus's grief, and the climactic rising and falling scale figures symbolising the opening of the tomb. Ascendetis post filium provides the basis for an attractive Mass by his colleague Antonius Galli, which also contains many Lassus-like touches, including sudden brief bursts of triple time and the reiteration of quirky little rhythmic figures … Cinquecento's six male voices produce a rich and expressive sound … this is a very promising debut disc' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Continuo lacrimas, Vaet's gracious lament on the death of the composer Clemens non Papa, is a small masterpiece both in technique and emotional resonance … Cinquecento is an all-male vocal ensemble with members drawn from five European countries … the voices are young, lithe, pure in intonation and warm in timbre—in short, ideal for interpreting Renaissance polyphony. Their phrasing is supple, mellifluous and understated, while always alert to the musical rhetoric … no lover of Renaissance polyphony should overlook this outstanding début recording' (International Record Review)

'This revelatory disc, beguilingly sung, includes Galli's exquisite Missa Ascendetis post filium' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Such a collection of rarities would be commendable even if the performances were not so fine. Cinquecento makes this a triumphant debut recording, indicating that we can look forward to more Renaissance polyphony of similar interest. The six male voices, based in Vienna but coming from five countries, display a fine ensemble, doubtless a necessary result of working together without a leader. The Mass by Galli is worth the price of the disc, a fine work of the period and the sort of thing that was just waiting to be revived. Give this disc a hearing and be prepared for a revelation' (Fanfare, USA)

'A jaw-droppingly beautiful collection of a capella choral works by Jacobus Vaet, Antonius Galli, Pieter Maessens and Orlando Lassus performed by the male six-voice ensemble Cinquecento. All were written for the 16th-century Hapsburg court, and they run the gamut from Vaet's sweetly straightforward antiphon 'O quam gloriosum' to Galli's brilliant parody mass on 'Ascendetis post filium'. Cinquecento's sound is creamy and sweet, and the music is exceptionally fine. Highly recommended' (CD Hotlist, USA)

'This is Cinquecento's debut recording, an all-male ensemble which promises to rival the best of their kind in the choral scene. Indeed these are thrilling, exhilarating performances which should go a long way towards establishing this repertoire on a sounder footing. Worth buying, if only for Vaet's masterly motets … [Missa Ascendentis post filium] is a slow and 'deliberate' work. Listen to the mournful 'Kyrie' with some of the qualities of a dream, moving slowly and barely making an impact on the world, on which it yet so totally relies. That, convincingly, is how Cinquecento present it. No fuss, no undue emphasis on its heights and depths. Yet it's all the more impressive for their holding back as they feel their way through the music. Their performance—listen to the Gloria—has a particularly effective mix of majesty, magnificence and intimacy. Pretty much how you would expect and have wanted a contemporary performance to have sounded. This Mass is perhaps the high-point of this disc; the Credo, for instance, is a movement of ethereal beauty, intensely personal and low key but with a conviction—given the parallel dedication and careful drive of Cinquecento—that lends this highly colored work such power and feeling' (Classical.net)

'Pour servir cette 'Musique à la cour de Maximilien II de Bohême', oncle de Charles Quint, le chant de l'ensemble Cinquecento est séduisant. La qualité des tutti, l'accord homogène (et légèrement réverbéré) entre l'agilité des pupitres aigus et l'ampleur des basses font sonner les nombreuses trouvailles harmoniques qui parsèment ces oeuvres méconnues … la chapelle de Maximilien II regroupait surtout des compositeurs flamands de la génération de Nicolas Gombert, c'est-à-dire inspirée par un flux musical continu. Des aspérités harmoniques viennent rehausser des textures denses sous la forme de fausses relations que Cinquecento fait sonner avec beaucoup d'adresse, surtout dans le beau motet de déploration Continuo lacrimas' (Le Monde de la Musique, France)

Missa Ascendetis post filium
composer
6vv; based on the eponymous motet by Jacobus Vaet
author of text
Ordinary of the Mass

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
In Missa Ascendetis post filium, the most obvious motif of Vaet’s motet is the scalic theme that opens the piece: Galli makes heavy use of this material, opening each of the first three movements with it. As well as its linear qualities, designed around the motet text ‘you will go up after my son’, this theme has a distinctive harmonic twist caused by the juxtaposition of E flat and E natural in the second bar: its appearances are thus highly audible, especially since its statements are usually repeated, being passed from upper to lower voices. In the later movements of his Mass, Galli varies the motif, breaking it down into smaller scalic passages in the Sanctus, and in the Agnus creating a new and more dissonant texture.

Another important element of Vaet’s motet that takes centre stage in Galli’s imitation Mass is the use of triple time. Although Galli must have been older than Vaet (his first documented adult employment dates from Vaet’s infancy), the ways in which he employs triple time in the Mass setting are quite modern, and reminiscent of Vaet’s great contemporary, Lassus. Whereas Galli’s immediate predecessors and contemporaries, writing in the 1530s and ’40s, tended to cast the great majority of their music in duple time, turning to triple metre only for the Osanna movements, the later practice of Lassus was to shift quite frequently between the two, especially in the later sections of the Credo, where Trinitarian theology is to the fore. Lassus would often set only the word ‘resurrectionem’ in triple time, reverting to duple for the following ‘mortuorum’ (2 ‘and I look for’, 3 ‘the resurrection’, 2 ‘of the dead’); whereas Galli does not approach this degree of flexibility, he does set small sections in triple metre, such as ‘cuius regni non erit finis’ (‘whose kingdom shall have no end’). Moreover, he adopts in such sections one of the most memorably rhythmical phrases of Vaet’s motet, where the words ‘quam fuerit solium domini mei regis’ (‘[greater] than was the throne of my lord the king’) are set homophonically and in syncopation: the same or similar rhythms are adopted by Galli for ‘catholicam et apostolicam’ (‘catholic and apostolic [Church]’). In general Galli’s music illustrates how, despite their shared Netherlandish heritage, different composers could develop in differing ways stylistically, depending on their environment; thus Galli is to be distinguished from his contemporaries Clemens (based in the North), Thomas Crecquillon (at the Spanish Habsburg court) and Adrian Willaert (at St Mark’s, Venice).

from notes by Stephen Rice © 2007

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