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Track(s) taken from CDA67653

Descendit de caelis

6vv; Cantiones Sacrae 1591 xxi-xxii
author of text
Respond for Christmas Day, Sarum Rite

The Cardinall's Musick, Andrew Carwood (conductor)
Recording details: November 2007
Fitzalan Chapel, Arundel Castle, United Kingdom
Produced by Jonathan Freeman-Attwood
Engineered by Martin Haskell & Iestyn Rees
Release date: February 2009
Total duration: 5 minutes 33 seconds

Cover artwork: The Martyrdom of St Peter before Emperor Nero (M Fr 71 fol.28) by Jean Fouquet (c1420-1480)
Musée Condé, Chantilly, France / Giraudon / Bridgeman Art Library, London


'The performances are admirably directed, responsive to words, clear in their exposition of counterpoint, carefully blended in the homophonic passages. The Cardinall's Musick is an expert body of singers who know exactly what they are doing' (Gramophone)

'This performance is unparalleled in its depth of expression and intelligence. The Cardinall's Musick unerringly leads the listener to musical events that unlock Byrd's conception … crystalline sound reproduction ensures that every detail is captured. The imaginativeness of the selections for this disc attests to the scholarly expertise informing its production. In short, this performance brings us into the 'heavenly kingdom' longed for by Byrd' (BBC Music Magazine)

'The works for St Peter and St Paul … positively shimmer with exuberance … the beauties of these performances are revealed: litheness, energy and intelligence' (International Record Review)

'The Cardinall's Musick appeal like the most ardent supplicants at the altar rail. The flowing lines are rich with character and the blend is a bold mixture of individuals' (Classic FM Magazine)

'The completion of this series will be a landmark, but don’t wait to hear this beautiful disc' (Fanfare, USA)

'The Cardinall's Musick is certainly one of the world's more authoritative sources for well-researched, committed, fully engaging performances of Byrd's music, and anyone who wants to know the entire range of his work needs no further encouragement from me in making this newest release their next acquisition' (Classics Today)

'It may have been quite a long time coming but this eleventh disc from The Cardinall's Musick in their monumental exploration of William Byrd has certainly been worth the wait. The programme is built from the Cantiones Sacrae of 1591 and the Gradualia of 1607 and focuses on Byrd's recusant music. Throughout their series of recordings this method of interspersing the three books of Cantiones Sacrae with the two of Graduallia has been highly successful and what is most exciting is that it allows Andrew Carwood to be the first director to record the entire music from the Gradualia in liturgically appropriate combinations. Opening this album is the exquisite six-voice setting of Descendit de caelis which immediately confirms that these are performances that are every bit as good as the previous award-winning volume. There can be very few singers in the world just now that have such an understanding of Byrd's vocal works as The Cardinall's Musick and here they give impassioned and immediate performances that move on from the early music stereotypes that used to dominate in this field' (Musical Criticism.com)
Descendit de caelis has a ravishing texture. Byrd proudly displays his English heritage by setting a pre-Reformation Sarum rite text involving a cantus firmus (a favourite device of John Sheppard and his contemporaries) complete with dissonances and false relations. Yet as so often with Byrd there is a nod in the direction of modern ideas, at the words ‘lux et decus’ (‘the light and glory’) he uses a hopeful, upward-rising phrase which he was to develop further in the set of Propers for the Feast of Candlemas (recorded on Volume 8 of this series), which celebrates Christ as the light of the world.

from notes by Andrew Carwood © 2009

Descendit de caelis a une texture ravissante. Byrd déploie fièrement son héritage anglais en mettant en musique un texte du rit de Sarum—antérieur à la Réforme—impliquant un cantus firmus (procédé cher à John Sheppard et à ses contemporains) complet, avec dissonances et fausses relations. Mais, comme si souvent, il acquiesce aussi aux idées modernes: aux mots «lux et decus» («la lumière et la gloire») correspond une phrase musicale pleine d’espoir, ascendante, qu’il développera plus avant dans son corpus de propres pour la Chandeleur, célébrant le Christ lumière du monde.

extrait des notes rédigées par Andrew Carwood © 2009
Français: Hypérion

Das Descendit de caelis hat eine ganz besondere Struktur. Byrd weist stolz auf seine englische Herkunft hin, indem er einen vorreformatorischen Text des Sarum Rite [eine spezifische, aus Salisbury stammende Liturgie, Anm. d. Ü.] vertont und einen Cantus firmus (ein beliebtes Stilmittel von John Sheppard und seinen Zeitgenossen) mit Dissonanzen und Querständen einarbeitet. Wie jedoch so oft bei Byrd wird auch hier ein Hinweis auf die modernen Ideen deutlich, wenn er bei den Worten „lux et decus“ („das Licht und die Herrlichkeit“) eine hoffnungsvolle, nach oben gerichtete Phrase komponiert, die er im Proprium für Lichtmess weiterentwickeln sollte, in dem Christus als Licht der Welt gefeiert wird.

aus dem Begleittext von Andrew Carwood © 2009
Deutsch: Viola Scheffel

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