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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67604
Recording details: September 2005
Merton College Chapel, Oxford, United Kingdom
Produced by Jeremy Summerly
Engineered by Justin Lowe
Release date: April 2007
Total duration: 4 minutes 4 seconds

'A must-have disc from the Brabant Ensemble … first-rate music stirs this young ensemble to their finest disc yet' (Gramophone)

'This well-selected collection places Manchicourt firmly on the musical map. The centrepiece of the recording, the Cuidez vous mass, is an inspired choice. From the clamorous lines of the opening Kyrie with their spicy harmonic clashes, through the superbly portrayed dramas of the Credo, and into the quieter realms of the Sanctus and Agnus Dei, this choir is never less than energised and sure-footed … moving and compelling' (BBC Music Magazine)

'The brilliant Easter exultation of Regina caeli is created by Manchicourt's ingenious combination of intricate canonic writing with exciting syncopated rhythms … the Brabant Ensemble's committed and responsive performances' (The Daily Telegraph)

'I was amazed … there is really excellent music here' (Early Music Review)

'Though only a few recordings of Manchicourt's music have appeared over the past decade or so, this one is a significant addition … for its contrasting interpretive aesthetic' (American Record Guide)

'From the ecstatic opening bars of the Regina caeli, which begins the recital, to the more austere grandeur of Manchicourt’s only setting of the Magnificat, with which it closes, there is not a less than thrilling moment on the whole disc. Non-experts will scarcely be aware of the hyper-refined contrapuntal techniques, daring use of dissonance and cross-relations, interspersed with passages of telling homophony; they will simply be swept along by the sheer aural brilliance of Manchicourt’s polyphony. With only two previous recordings to its name, The Brabant Ensemble has already established itself as perhaps England’s most accomplished interpreter of Renaissance sacred music. Its intelligent phrasing, purity of vocal production and well-judged use of pause and inflexion are simply astonishing. Its vivid presentation of Manchicourt’s shimmering, flamboyant polyphony is as moving as it is intellectually stimulating' (International Record Review)

'The music is typical of the high Renaissance, influenced by Josquin and close to the style of Gombert; the Brabant performances all have a wonderful fluency and rhythmic clarity' (The Guardian)

'The more I hear of Manchicourt's music the more impressed I am … the Brabant Ensemble here sports a confidence and sureness of purpose which is indispensable in music as meaty and ambitious as this' (Goldberg)

'Stephen Rice's superbly talented vocal ensemble features many members of the same family, and there's a great harmony, in all senses, about its work. Here, the Brabant does the 16th-century composer Manchicourt proud' (FirstPost.com)

'Recorded at Merton College, Oxford by eager, fresh young voices, singing full throatedly with a forward impetus, it has made for delightful listening. Recommended strongly' (MusicalPointers.co.uk)

Regina caeli
composer
6vv
author of text
Antiphon to the Blessed Virgin Mary in Paschal Time

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The six-voice setting of Regina caeli that opens the programme is based on an ingenious canon between the two upper voices. Although the pitch interval of the canon is consistently a fourth, the time difference is varied; the singers are instructed ‘sans souspirer ne chantez poinctz’ (literally, ‘do not sing at all without breathing’). The hidden meaning of this phrase is that the singer must omit all minim rests—known colloquially as ‘souspirs’ at this time—and also that all rhythms extended by a dot (‘poinct’) should be sung as if the dot were absent. Obeying these rules turns the smooth rhythm of the upper voice into an energetic, highly syncopated line, which begins two bars behind its neighbour and reaches the end of the motet’s first section two bars ahead. In the second section, the roles are reversed. Meanwhile, the four lower voices also adopt playful syncopated rhythms, as for instance the tenors at the beginning of the second part.

from notes by Stephen Rice © 2007

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