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Track(s) taken from CDA67704

Libera nos, salva nos I

composer
author of text
6th Psalm Antiphon at Matins on Trinity Sunday

Westminster Abbey Choir, James O'Donnell (conductor)
Recording details: June 2008
All Hallows, Gospel Oak, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Jeremy Summerly
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: October 2008
Total duration: 3 minutes 19 seconds

Cover artwork: Portrait of Elizabeth I.
The Deanery, Westminster Abbey / Copyright Dean and Chapter of Westminster
 
1
Libera nos, salva nos I  [3'19]

Other recordings available for download

St Paul's Cathedral Choir, John Scott (conductor)

Reviews

'The beauties of this disc of 16th century choral music are many and various. The repertoire's selection and arrangement is inspired, the singing some of the best I've heard on CD … as a showcase for English choral singing at its most charismatic, this deserves to be widely heard' (Gramophone)

'The Choir of Westminster Abbey sings fresh, committed and emotionally compelling accounts. Many overpowering moments take place during Mundy's Vox Patris Caelestis … James O'Donnell shapes vocal lines with a keen sense of drama … the brilliance of the programming matches that of the singing' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Sheppard's sublime Libera nos unfolds like a hothouse flower amid other blooms from Tye, Tallis, Mundy and White' (The Observer)

'This latest addition to Hyperion's excellent Westminster Abbey series presents a fascinating snapshot of the musical upheavals created by Queen Mary's death and Elizabeth I's accession in 1558. Sheppard's Second Evening Service, composed in that year in a syllabic yet sonorously polyphonic style, marks the watershed between richly textured and highly elaborated Latin pieces, such as Mundy's Vox Patris caelestis, and the beautiful simplicity of Byrd's Teach me, O Lord. Recusant musical activity is also represented by Byrd's profoundly moving Ne irascaris' (The Daily Telegraph)

'The energy in the boys' voices is thrilling: they sear through the complex texture with evangelical zeal … this recording showcases the contrasts of style which made the 16th century such a fertile period of composition, and shows how the tradition of singing services at Westminster Abbey has continued unbroken for so many centuries' (Early Music Review)

'This is spectacularly fine singing, with James O'Donnell's obvious affection for the repertoire drawing from both boys and men some exquisite performances … the Westminster choir's most beautiful release to date' (International Record Review)

'In this brilliantly conceived programme … O'Donnell's superlative choir are peerless' (The Sunday Times)
Sheppard’s first setting of Libera nos, salva nos takes as its text the sixth antiphon at Matins on Trinity Sunday. Its liturgical position was thus about half way through the chief morning Office, as celebrated in its festal form with three nocturns. The text, a petition to the Holy Trinity for freedom, redemption and absolution, is sufficiently general to allow the possibility that Sheppard’s setting was used at other Offices, in the place where votive antiphons had once been sung (and where in Anglican Offices the choir sings the anthem); it is likely that the piece was composed during Sheppard’s time at Magdalen College, Oxford, among whose statutes is the ordinance that this very text be recited twice a day. Unusually, and unlike Sheppard’s Office hymns and responds, the chant cantus firmus is placed in the lowest voice. The rate of harmonic change is consequently very slow; this, and the mode’s tonal stability, accounts for the serenity with which the music unfolds.

from notes by Robert Quinney 2008

Other albums featuring this work

The English Anthem, Vol. 8
CDA67483
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