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Track(s) taken from CDA67658

Ultimi miei sospiri

6vv; canzona by Lodovico Martelli
author of text

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 18 seconds

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


'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)
The madrigal Ultimi miei sospiri by Philippe Verdelot is among the finest and best-known secular pieces of the earlier part of the sixteenth century. As one of the early pioneers of the madrigal, Verdelot was also among the first to compose examples of the genre for as many as six parts, a texture which offers significant opportunities for contrast between high and low groups of voices, or other combinations. Such techniques form a major part of the text-setting strategy of this generation of madrigalists, with the text-obscuring properties of imitative counterpoint offset by the chance to re-hear the same words sung by another group of voices. Although madrigals of the 1520s do not approach the levels of chromaticism seen later in the century, the idiom is nonetheless highly expressive, due to these composers’ command of textual accent (impressively, since the majority of them, including Verdelot, were not native Italian speakers), and of tessitura. An instance of the latter is found in Ultimi miei sospiri at ‘Dite, o beltà infinita’ (‘Speak, O infinite beauty’) where the change of voice from narrative to interlocution is marked with a new entry on the highest pitch yet heard. Verdelot’s artistry is again observable towards the end of the piece where the long notes of ‘Tornat’in me’ (‘return to me’) appear to be guiding the music towards a peaceful ending, but a final effort at energetic movement is made on ‘ch’io non vorrò morire’, as the narrator rages against the dying of the light.

from notes by Stephen Rice © 2008

Le madrigal Ultimi miei sospiri de Philippe Verdelot compte parmi les plus belles et les plus célèbres pièces profanes de la première partie du XVIe siècle. Pionnier du genre, Verdelot fut parmi les premiers à composer des madrigaux à six parties, une texture qui offre maintes combinaisons, notamment d’importantes opportunités de contrastes entre les groupes vocaux supérieur et inférieur. Chez cette génération de madrigalistes, ces techniques constituent l’essentiel de la stratégie de mise en musique, les risques d’obscurcissement du texte inhérents au contrepoint imitatif étant compensés par la possibilité de réentendre les mêmes mots chantés par un autre groupe de voix. Même s’ils n’atteignent pas les niveaux de chromatisme que l’on rencontrera plus avant dans le XVIe siècle, les madrigaux des années 1520 arborent un idiome fort expressif, rendu possible par la maîtrise de l’accent textuel (d’autant plus impressionnante que la plupart de leurs compositeurs, y compris Verdelot, n’étaient pas italophones de naissance) et de la tessiture. Dans Ultimi miei sospiri, cette maîtrise de la tessiture transparaît à «Dite, o beltà infinita» («Parle, ô beauté infinie»), où le changement de voix marquant le passage de la narration à l’interlocution est signifié par une nouvelle entrée, à la hauteur de son la plus élevée jamais entendue ici. L’art de Verdelot s’entend de nouveau vers la fin de la pièce: là, les longues de «Tornat’in me» («retourne vers moi») semblent guider la musique vers une conclusion paisible, lorsqu’une ultime tentative de mouvement énergique survient à «ch’io non vorrò morire», le narrateur fulminant contre la mort de la lumière.

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

Das Madrigal Ultimi miei sospiri von Philippe Verdelot gehört zu den schönsten und berühmtesten weltlichen Stücken vom Anfang des 16. Jahrhunderts. Als einer der frühen Pioniere des Madrigals war Verdelot auch einer der ersten Komponisten, der Beispiele des Genres für bis zu sechs Stimmen schrieb—ein Gefüge, das bedeutende Möglichkeiten bietet, hohe und tiefe Stimmgruppen oder andere Kombinationen zu kontrastieren. Solche Techniken bilden einen Großteil der Textvertonungs-Strategien dieser Generation von Madrigalisten, in denen die textverschleiernden Merkmale imitativen Kontrapunkts durch die Gelegenheit wettgemacht werden, die gleichen Worte von einer anderen Stimmgruppe gesungen zu hören. Obwohl Madrigale aus den 1520er Jahren nicht das Niveau von Chromatik erreichen wie aus dem späteren Jahrhundert ist das Idiom wegen der hervorragenden Beherrschung von Textbetonung und Lagennutzung der Komponisten dennoch hochexpressiv (umso eindrucksvoller, da die meisten, einschließlich Verdelot keine italienischen Muttersprachler waren). Ein Beispiel dafür findet sich in Ultimi miei sospiri bei „Dite, o beltà infinita“ („Sprecht, unendlich Schöne“), wo der Wechsel der Stimme von Erzählung zu Gespräch durch den bisher höchsten Einsatz einer Stimme markiert wird. Verdelots Kunst lässt sich auch gegen Ende des Stückes wieder beobachten, wo die langen Noten für „Tornat’in me“ („kehrt zu mir zurück“) die Musik zu einem friedlichen Ende zu führen scheint, aber auf „ch’io non vorrò morire“ („denn ich will nicht sterben“) erfolgt eine letzte Bemühung um energischen Drang, als der Erzähler gegen das Weichen des Lichts tobt.

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

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