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Track(s) taken from CDA67658

Miserere mei, Deus

author of text
Psalm 56 (57): 2-3

Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Studio Master:
Studio Master:
Recording details: August 2007
Wallfahrtskirche, St Wolfgang bei Weitra, Austria
Produced by Stephen Rice
Engineered by Markus Wallner
Release date: May 2008
Total duration: 3 minutes 6 seconds

Cover artwork: Winter by Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527-1593)
Private Collection, © Agnew's, London / Bridgeman Art Library, London

Other recordings available for download

Gallicantus, Gabriel Crouch (conductor)


'The music is beautifully performed and well worth a listen; Monte's settings are full of variety and fruity chromaticisms, and Cinquecento more than does him justice' (Choir & Organ)

'Their performances make it clear that Monte is a composer of distinction' (BBC Music Magazine)

'An enticing snapshot of [Monte's] musical personality. Detailed word-painting and an imaginatively dramatic response to his texts' changing moods are displayed in pieces such as Ad te levavi and Miserere mei' (The Daily Telegraph)

'An impassioned and beautiful performance by Cinquecento … the exceptional blend of voices and unified approach to phrasing augur well for their future as great interpreters of Renaissance music … a marvellous affinity for Monte … they have no need of a conductor to achieve lovely long phrases full of warmth and life … the individual voices are all lovely, and the countertenors float above the texture without dominating it' (Early Music Review)

'An unusually gifted ensemble, both vocally and musically … here is a group whose tone, vocal flexibility, collective and individual musicianship and commitment to their chosen repertoire places them at the very forefront of modern-day specialists in the performance of Renaissance vocal music … a disc which is not only a real treat to the ears but a most valuable and worthwhile exposé of little-known repertoire … unfailingly compelling and absorbing performances … it is the Mass which, at 25 minutes, dominates the disc and shows most obviously the many strengths of this outstanding vocal ensemble … at the start of the Kyrie, for example, we have a layered texutre the subtle balance of which, while seeming entirely natural, must have taken a great deal of effort to achieve. As it unfolds there is the impression of clouds parting to reveal a vast landscape as viewed from a montain top, a sense of spaciousness and a grandeur which is profoundly moving. This is a veritable jewel of a disc' (International Record Review)

'Beautifully blended sound by a young pan-European vocal sextet, rich with character and individuality in rare 16th-century polyphony' (Classic FM Magazine)
Unusually short in terms of notated length, Miserere mei, Deus is note for note the very dissonant. That this should be so is not altogether surprising when one considers the opportunities for expressive dissonance offered—to composers of the Renaissance and many other periods—by penitential texts. Peculiar to Monte’s setting is the speed with which he creates the mood—the beginning of the second bar has a harsh suspension between the two highest voices, but even before that the syncopation and descending scale of the top voice indicate penitence—but also his ability to change the mood gradually yet unmistakeably. A case in point is the phrase ‘et in umbra alarum tuarum sperabo’ (‘and under the shadow of your wings I shall hope’), where the prevailing sonorities of D minor, A minor and G minor from the first section eventually yield to F major, prepared by a long pedal on C. (This is not to say that Monte or his contemporaries thought in terms of modulation as did later composers; the effect of opening out into a new territory is clearly present, however, underlined by other devices such as increasing rhythmic vitality.)

from notes by Stephen Rice © 2008

Pour ce qui est de la longueur notée, Miserere mei, Deus est note pour note très dissonante. Ce qui n’a absolument rien de surprenant quand on songe aux opportunités de dissonance expressive que les textes pénitentiels offrent aux compositeurs de la Renaissance (comme de bien d’autres époques). De Monte, lui, se singularise et par la vitesse à laquelle il crée une atmosphère—le début de la deuxième mesure a une dure suspension entre les deux voix les plus aiguës, mais avant même que la syncope et la gamme descendante de la voix supérieure indiquent la pénitence—et par son aptitude à la changer de manière progressive mais bien perceptible. Ce qu’illustre remarquablement la phrase «et in umbra alarum tuarum sperabo» («et à l’ombre de tes ailes, j’espérerai»), où les sonorités dominantes de ré mineur, la mineur et sol mineur de la première section s’inclinent finalement devant fa majeur, préparé par une longue pédale sur ut. (Ce qui ne veut pas dire que de Monte et ses contemporains pensaient en termes de modulation comme leurs successeurs; l’effet consistant à déboucher sur un nouveau territoire n’en est pas moins clairement présent, comme le souligne, entre autres, une vitalité rythmique croissante.)

extrait des notes rédigées par Stephen Rice © 2008
Français: Hypérion

In Bezug auf seine Länge in Noten ist Miserere mei, Deus, ein kürze Werk, Ton für Ton am dissonantesten. Das überrascht nicht allzu sehr, wenn man die Gelegenheiten für expressive Dissonanz bedenkt, die Bußtexte bieten—nicht nur den Komponisten der Renaissance sondern auch anderer Perioden. Für Montes Vertonung bezeichnend ist, wie schnell er die Stimmung erzeugt—der Anfang des zweiten Taktes enthält einen krassen Vorhalt zwischen den beiden höchsten Stimmen, aber schon vorher deuten die Synkopierung und absteigende Phrase der Oberstimme Bußstimmung an—aber auch seine Fähigkeit, die Stimmung langsam aber unverkennbar zu ändern. Ein Beispiel dafür ist die Phrase „et in umbra alarum tuarum sperabo“ („und unter dem Schatten deiner Flügel will ich hoffen“), wo die im ersten Teil vorherrschenden Klänge von d-Moll, a-Moll und g-Moll, von einem langen Orgelton auf C vorbereitet, allmählich F-Dur weichen. (Das heißt nicht, dass Monte oder seine Zeitgenossen wie spätere Komponisten in Modulationen dachten; der Effekt, in ein neues Territorium zu gelangen, ist jedoch deutlich und wird durch andere Mittel wie die Steigerung rhythmischer Vitalität unterstrichen.)

aus dem Begleittext von Stephen Rice © 2008
Deutsch: Renate Wendel

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