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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: 6 minutes 50 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)

Ascendetis post filium
composer
In laudem Invictiss. Rom. Imp. Max. II; 6vv
author of text
after I Kings 1: 35, 37

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Vaet’s motet Ascendetis post filium provided the source material for the Mass setting by Galli as well as exemplifying the ‘state motet’ genre. The text is a lightly paraphrased version of I Kings 1: 35, 37, in which Solomon is anointed King of Israel on the orders of the still-living David. The analogy with the gradual transfer of powers from Ferdinand to Maximilian makes it likely that the motet was composed in celebration of the latter becoming either King of Bohemia in 1562 or of Hungary in 1563. The Habsburg family frequently appropriated ancient emblems and symbols of kingship not only from pagan sources—notably from ancient Rome, to legitimize their status as Holy Roman Emperors—but also from both the Old and the New Testaments. Written for six voices (as is Galli’s Mass), the piece generates an impressive climax towards the end of its first section, from ‘et ego praecipiam ei’ (‘and I shall teach him’)—suggesting that the monarch being celebrated was still in a junior position—and culminating in running scalic phrases, a standard depiction of joy, on ‘ut sit dux vester’ (‘so that he may be your ruler’).

from notes by Stephen Rice © 2007

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