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Track(s) taken from CDA67579

Discessu

composer
6vv
author of text

Cinquecento
Recording details: June 2006
Dominikanerkirche, Retz, Austria
Produced by Stephen Rice
Engineered by Markus Wallner
Release date: February 2007
Total duration: 3 minutes 58 seconds
 
1
Discessu  [3'58]

Reviews

'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)
Discessu is one of the oddest pieces of polyphony written in the mid-century, with an enigmatic puzzle canon based on Maximilian’s name. The vowels of the phrase ‘Maximilianus Archidux Austriae’ are rendered into solmization syllables (thus ‘Maximilianus’ becomes fa-mi-mi-mi-fa-ut or F-E-E-E-F-C). This procedure, known as soggetto cavato because the subject is ‘carved’ from the dedicatee’s name, was pioneered by Josquin Desprez in his Mass Hercules Dux Ferrarie: the syllables derived from Ercole, Duke of Ferrara produce a rather more interesting melody than those of Maximilian. Maessens’s soggetto is then imitated at the lower fifth in the first part of the motet, and subsequently at the upper fourth. A Latin poem indicates that—in addition to the two canonic voices—the discant and tenor parts can be reversed, making multiple versions of the piece possible. As an exercise in simultaneous double canon Discessu is extremely impressive: for its original audience these features evidently outweighed the somewhat ungainly musical effect of the piece.

from notes by Stephen Rice © 2007

Discessu est l’une des plus curieuses pages polyphoniques du milieu du XVIe siècle, avec son canon énigmatique fondé sur le nom de Maximilien. Les voyelles de la phrase «Maximilianus Archidux Austriae» sont rendues en syllabes de solmisation («Maximilianus» devient ainsi fa-mi-mi-mi-fa-ut). Ce procédé, appelé soggetto cavato en référence au sujet «découpé» dans le nom du dédicataire, fut initié par Josquin Desprez dans sa messe Hercules Dux Ferrarie, les syllable dérivées d’Ercole, duc de Ferrare, produisant d’ailleurs une mélodie plus intéressante que celle de Maximilien. Le soggetto de Maessens est ensuite imité à la quinte inférieure dans la première partie du motet, puis à la quarte supérieure. Un poème latin montre que les parties de déchant et de ténor peuvent être inversées (en plus des deux voix canoniques), d’où les multiples versions possibles de cette pièce, extrêmement impressionnante en tant qu’exercice de canon double simultané: pour l’auditoire de l’époque, ces caractéristiques éclipsèrent à l’évidence son effet musical un peu gauche.

extrait des notes rédigées par Stephen Rice © 2007
Français: Hypérion

Discessu ist eines der merkwürdigsten polyphonen Stücke aus der Mitte des 16. Jahrhunderts mit einem Rätselkanon über den Namen Maximilian. Die Vokale der Phrase „Maximilianus Archidux Austriae“ werden in Solmisationssilben übertragen („Maximilianus“ ergibt also fa-mi-mi-mi-fa-ut oder F-E-E-E-F-C). Der Bahnbrecher für diese Methode, die auch als soggetto cavato bekannt ist, da das Thema aus dem Namen des Widmungsträgers „geschnitzt“ („cavato“) wird, war Josquin Desprez in seiner Messe Hercules Dux Ferrarie: Die Silben, die sich aus Herkules, Herzog von Ferrara ableiten, ergeben jedoch eine interessantere Melodie als die Maximilians. Maessens soggetto wird im ersten Teil der Motette eine Quinte tiefer imitiert, später eine Quarte höher. Ein lateinisches Gedicht deutet an, dass—zusätzlich zu den beiden kanonischen Stimmen—die Sopran- und Tenorstimme umgekehrt werden können, was mehrere Versionen des Stückes ermöglicht. Als Übung in gleichzeitigem Doppelkanon ist Discessu außerordentlich beeindruckend: für seine ursprünglichen Zuhörer entschädigten diese Eigenschaften offenbar für die eher unbeholfene musikalische Wirkung des Stückes.

aus dem Begleittext von Stephen Rice © 2007
Deutsch: Renate Wendel