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Track(s) taken from CDA67887

Tristis est anima mea

5vv SATTB; published in Altera pars selectissimarum cantionum, quas vulgo motetas vocant ..., Nuremberg, 1579
author of text
Second Responsory at Matins on Maundy Thursday, after Matthew 26

The Brabant Ensemble, Stephen Rice (conductor)
Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Studio Master:
Studio Master:
Recording details: September 2010
The Chapel of Harcourt Hill campus, Oxford Brookes University, United Kingdom
Produced by Jeremy Summerly
Engineered by Justin Lowe
Release date: August 2011
Total duration: 4 minutes 48 seconds

Cover artwork: Sibyl (c1540) by Francesco Ubertini Verdi Bachiacca (c1494-1557)
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna / Bridgeman Art Library, London

Other recordings available for download

Magnificat, Philip Cave (conductor)


'The Brabant Ensemble's singers sound thoroughly engaged in their tribute to Lassus, with a rich tone-spectrum allowing for maximum appreciation of his fluid, elegant polyphony' (Choir & Organ)

'They certainly are astonishing in their harmonic daring, moving from C major via G major and B major to C sharp minor in the bat of an eyelid, and are wonderfully captured here by the suavely assured Brabant Ensemble under scholarly Stephen Rice. The prologue and 12 movements that make up Prophetiae Sibyllarum are joined by a Mass, a magnificat and three marvellous motets, including the sumptuous Tristis est anima mea. Listen and be moved' (The Observer)

'The performances throughout are wonderfully persuasive, with nothing arch or affected in the way in which the texts are presented; expressively, music that is as highly wrought as any of its time is made to seem completely natural' (The Guardian)

'In his day, de Lassus was more celebrated than his contemporary Palestrina and even more prolific, although today their relative pre-eminence is reversed. This disc is typically representative of The Brabant Ensemble's intention to record and promulgate somewhat lesser-known music from the first half of the sixteenth century. Devotees of the period will welcome its austere, otherworldly beauty' (MusicWeb International)
Tristis est anima mea, which sets Christ’s meditation in the Garden of Gethsemane from St Matthew’s Gospel, is one of Lassus’s most dramatic narrative motets, changing mood every few bars and illustrating the text closely. The opening slow section defines the mood and also the unusually wide tessitura of the piece, from low F in the bass to soprano high G. ‘Sustinete hic’ (‘remain here’) is set to a rising syncopated phrase, dragging itself upward in contrast to the sleeping disciples. At ‘Nunc videbitis turbam’ the story-telling becomes more urgent, with block chords and a heavy tread representing the oncoming crowd. The most direct word-painting is at ‘circumdabit me’, with circling melodies as the crowd surrounds Jesus. The disciples, however, melt away (‘vos fugam capietis’), the vocal lines descending slowly and dissonantly but without drawing attention to themselves, while Jesus goes to his death (‘et ego vadam immolari’), the energy of the piece dissipating onto the last chord, which is stretched wide across the tessitura as Jesus was on the Cross. The entire motet is a remarkable display of compositional virtuosity in the service of text expression, and is rightly famed as an example of the new musical aims towards which the late Renaissance was heading by the end of Lassus’s life.

from notes by Stephen Rice © 2011

Tristis est anima mea, qui met en musique la méditation du Christ dans le jardin de Gethsémani (évangile selon saint Matthieu) est un des motets narratifs les plus remarquables de Lassus en ce qu’il change de climat toutes les deux ou trois mesures et illustre le texte au plus près. La section lente inaugurale définit et l’atmosphère de la pièce et sa tessiture inhabituellement large, de fa grave à la basse à sol aigu au soprano. Les mots «sustinete hic» («restez ici») sont mis en musique sur une phrase syncopée ascendante, qui se tire vers le haut par contraste avec les disciples endormis. À «Nunc videbitis turbam», le récit se fait plus pressant, des blocs d’accords et un pas pesant incarnant la foule qui arrive. Le figuralisme le plus direct marque les mots «circumdabit me», avec des mélodies circulaires survenant lorsque la foule entoure Jésus. Les disciples, toutefois, s’enfuient («vos fugam capietis») et les lignes vocales descendent avec lenteur et dissonance mais sans attirer l’attention sur elles, tandis que Jésus s’en va à la mort («et ego vadam immolari»); l’énergie de la pièce se dissipe sur le dernier accord, étiré sur toute la tessiture, à la mise en croix de Jésus. Remarquable démonstration de virtuosité compositionnelle au service du texte, ce motet est, à bon droit, un exemple célèbre des nouveaux desseins musicaux vers lesquels la Renaissance tardive tendait, à la fin de la vie de Lassus.

extrait des notes rédigées par Stephen Rice © 2011
Français: Hypérion

Das Tristis est anima mea, in dem Christi Meditation im Garten Gethsemane im Matthäusevangelium vertont ist, ist eine der dramatischsten Motetten von Lassus, in der sich die Stimmung alle paar Takte ändert und den Text genau illustriert. Der langsame Teil zu Beginn definiert die Atmosphäre und auch den ungewöhnlich weiten Tonumfang des Stücks vom tiefen F im Bass zum hohen G im Sopran. „Sustinete hic“ („Bleibt hier“) erklingt zu einer aufsteigenden synkopierten Phrase, die sich im Gegensatz zu den schlafenden Jüngern nach oben zieht. Bei „Nunc videbitis turbam“ wird die Erzählung dringlicher, indem durch Akkordblöcke und einen schweren Tritt die sich nähernde Menge dargestellt wird. Die direkteste Wortmalerei findet bei „circumdabit me“ statt, wo kreisende Melodien die Menschenmasse darstellen, die Jesus umgibt. Die Jünger weichen jedoch zurück („vos fugam capietis“), die Vokallinien senken sich langsam und mit Dissonanzen, ohne jedoch dabei die Aufmerksamkeit auf sich zu ziehen, wenn Jesus seinem Tod entgegengeht („et ego vadam immolari“), wobei die Energie des Werks sich langsam auf dem letzten Akkord auflöst, der in seinem Umfang so weit ausgedehnt ist, wie Jesu Gliedmaßen am Kreuz. Die gesamte Motette zeichnet sich durch eine bemerkenswerte kompositorische Virtuosität im Dienste der Textdarstellung aus und sie ist zu Recht als ein Beispiel für die neuen musikalischen Ziele der Spätrenaissance berühmt, die sich gegen Ende des Lebens von Lassus ankündigten.

aus dem Begleittext von Stephen Rice © 2011
Deutsch: Viola Scheffel

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