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Track(s) taken from CDA67614

Inviolata, integra, et casta es, Maria

SAATB; Nicolai Gomberti Mvsici Excellentissimi Cvm Qvinqve Vocibvs Liver Primvs (Venice: Scotto, 1550)
author of text
Antiphon for the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Brabant Ensemble, Stephen Rice (conductor)
Recording details: September 2006
Queen's College Chapel, Oxford, United Kingdom
Produced by Jeremy Summerly
Engineered by Justin Lowe
Release date: September 2007
Total duration: 7 minutes 43 seconds


'It's one of very few discs of this repertoire I've been happy to play in its entirety, and then several times since. This is in part a tribute to Gombert … but also to The Brabant Ensemble and Stephen Rice … by encouraging an unusually individual and carefully balanced vocal response, he avoids the pitfalls of relentless consistency and arid elision … there is a welcome and (in this music) novel belief in the power of voices as voices … try the sopranos halfway through Hortus conclusus es for erotic Mariolatry at its most disconcertingly sensual. Arise, make haste, as they sing, and hear this music' (Gramophone)

'The Brabant Ensemble's exploration of the 'forgotten generation' of composers between Josquin and Palestrina is reviving an abundance of unwarrantedly neglected sacred polyphony. Judging by this splendid selection of motets, Gombert's neglect is particularly flagrant. In penitential pieces, such as Aspice Domine and Tribulatio et angustia, his lavish use of dissonance within a smooth-flowing yet intricately imitative style creates an atmosphere of almost unbearably intense and bitter anguish, whether contemplating a city laid waste or beseeching rescue from a foetid quagmire … these shapely and well-paced performances do full justice to Gombert's outstanding talent' (The Daily Telegraph)

'This attractive recording provised an excellent opportunity to wallow in his motets … the music is austere but beautiful, with plenty of anguished dissonances and false relations … the music is well-sung … the performers are evidently passionate about 16th-century Flemish music' (Early Music Review)

'This is impressively accomplished ensemble singing … Rice's own booklet notes provide fascinating insights into the music … it is this intelligent approach to the spirit of the text (there is a glorious moment in Hortus conclusus es when the soprano soars ethereally to the line 'arise, make haste my beloved'), coupled with outstanding tuning and balancing, which makes this such a distinguished group. The Brabant Ensemble are quickly establishing themselves as one of the more impressive English groups specializing in Renaissance music, and this, their fourth CD release, only increases their stature' (International Record Review)

'The sheer quality of his music. These 10 motets are notable for their richly glowing sonorities, their disciplined counterpoints, their intensity of expression and, most of all, their careful tailoring of music to text. There's the darkly erotic intensity of Hortus conclusus es, the angst-ridden, pentitential Tribulatio et angustia … the singing is meticulously balanced and blended, Stephen Rice shaping and pacing each work with exquisite judgement' (The Sunday Times)

'Aspice Domine, Ne reminiscaris, Domine and Tribulatio et angustia mine a rich seam of angst, and receive searing performances here … the singing is brightly supported, the texture crystalline' (Early Music)

'Virtually all of these works project an awe-inducing majesty and solemnity, unfolding over many minutes of nearly cadence-free waves of rich-textured polyphony. Pungent dissonances play an integral role in the overall structure, as do repeated-note fragments and brief melodic segments whose impact can be quite striking, especially when introduced in the treble register and then passed through the other voices. It would be impossible to name a highlight--the magnificent Tribulatio et angustia; the grand Aspice Domine; the profoundly moving Pater noster and Ave Maria--because all of these works and performances are exemplary, both as unique creations and as stylistically informed, modern realizations of some of the greatest, yet-to-be-fully-appreciated music of the 16th century. The 14-voice Brabant Ensemble, whose vibrant, perfectly-tuned sound often gives the impression of a larger group, knows the importance of phrasing, breath control, and long-lined dynamic modulation, all of which are essential to really fire up and fully illuminate these scores. The sound, from what proves to be the ideal acoustics of the chapel of The Queen's College, Oxford, is perfectly balanced to allow us to hear each vocal line clearly while enabling the ensemble to properly resonate. This is a recording that demands and rewards multiple hearings … absolutely essential listening!' (Classics Today)

'This music is stunning, and the performance here is clear and bright, with perfect balance across the voice parts and the sustained lines. Highly recommended' (GScene)

'Les moments à couper le souffle ne manquent pas dans la dernière réalisation du Brabant Ensemble. Les amateurs de polyphonie de la Renaissance se réjouiront de voir apparaître des joyaux tels que Hortus conclusus es, aux invraisemblables chaînes de dissonances, ou une version du Inviolata qui, pour évoquer lointainement un modèle de Josquin, ne se situe pas moins dans un registre d'élégiaque mélancolie où Gombert surpasse tous ses contemporains' (Le Monde de la Musique, France)
Gombert’s setting of Inviolata, integra, et casta es, Maria is one among over twenty from the sixteenth century. At the head of this complex is the famous setting by Josquin Desprez, also in five parts: Gombert’s piece alludes obliquely to Josquin’s in its opening and (more obviously) at the phrase ‘O benigna, o Maria, o regina’ (‘Merciful Mary, queen’). Other settings make even closer reference to Josquin, including two—one of which is also attributed to Gombert but is unlikely to be his—that take the two canonic voices from Josquin’s motet and write entirely new settings around them. The shared basis for most Inviolata motets is a plainchant sequence melody, though the version found in modern chant books is evidently not the same as that known to Gombert and Josquin, since their motets begin with three repeated notes, whereas the modern version begins f-g-f-g-a. The monophonic setting of Inviolata presented on this recording is therefore newly written, based on the melodic material of Gombert’s motet (insofar as his thorough variation technique permits this to be isolated), conflated with a modern version of the chant taken from a Dominican antiphoner, which preserves aspects of the older melody.

from notes by Stephen Rice © 2007

Le XVIe siècle compta une bonne vingtaine d’Inviolata, integra, et casta es, Maria, un édifice musical auquel contribuèrent Gombert et, surtout, Josquin Desprez. Gombert fait indirectement allusion au fameux motet josquinien (lui aussi à cinq parties) dans l’ouverture et, de manière plus flagrante, à la phrase «O benigna, o Maria, o regina» («Ô miséricordieuse, ô Marie, ô reine»). D’autres mises en musique renvoient plus directement encore à Josquin, dont deux qui font graviter autour des deux voix canoniques josquiniennes des compositions totalement nouvelles—une de ces œuvres est d’ailleurs attribuée, mais probablement à tort, à Gombert. La plupart des motets Inviolata ont pour base commune une mélodie de séquence en plain-chant, même si la version des cantionnaires modernes n’est, à l’évidence, pas celle que connaissaient Gombert et Josquin: leurs motets s’ouvrent sur trois notes répétées, là où la version moderne commence par fa2–sol2–fa2–sol2–la2. L’Inviolata monophonique du présent enregistrement propose donc une écriture inédite, fondée sur le matériau mélodique du motet de Gombert (pour autant que sa complexe technique de variation permette de l’isoler), amalgamé à une version moderne du plain-chant empruntée à un antiphonaire dominicain préservant les aspects de la mélodie la plus ancienne.

extrait des notes rédigées par Stephen Rice © 2007
Français: Hyperion Records Ltd

Gomberts Vertonung von Inviolata, integra, et casta es, Maria ist eine von über zwanzig dieses Textes aus dem 16. Jahrhundert. Diese Sammlung wird von der berühmten, ebenfalls fünfstimmigen Vertonung von Josquin Desprez angeführt, und Gomberts Stück spielt am Anfang indirekt undbei der Phrase „O benigna, o Maria, o regina“ („O Gütige, o Maria, o Königin“) offensichtlicher auf Josquins Werk an. Andere Vertonungen beziehen sich noch enger auf Josquin, einschließlich zweier—von denen eine Gombert zugeschrieben ist, aber höchstwahrschlich nicht von ihm stammt—die die beiden im Kanon geführten Stimmen aus Josquins Motette übernehmen und einen ganz neuen Satz um sie herum komponieren. Das gemeinsame Fundament für alle Inviolata-Motetten ist die Melodie einer Choralsequenz, obwohl die Version, die sich in modernen Choralbüchern findet, offensichtlich nicht die gleiche Melodie ist, die Gombert und Josquin kannten, da ihre Motetten mit drei gleichen Noten anfangen, während die moderne Version mit f-g-f-g-a beginnt. Der monophone Satz von Inviolata, der auf dieser Aufnahme gesungen wird, wurde also anhand des melodischen Materials in Gomberts Motette neu geschrieben (so weit es seine durchkomponierte Imitationstechnik erlaubte, es zu isolieren) und mit einer modernen Version des Chorals aus einem dominikanischen Antiphonar verschmolzen, die Aspekte der alten Melodie beibehält.

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

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