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Track(s) taken from CDA67522

Magnificat a 5

Christ Church Oxford MSS979-983; missing fifth part reconstructed by Jon Dixon; plainsong added
author of text
Luke 1: 46-55

Westminster Cathedral Choir, Martin Baker (conductor)
Recording details: March 2005
Westminster Cathedral, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: October 2006
Total duration: 9 minutes 53 seconds

Cover artwork: Adoration of the Shepherds (detail) by Angelo Bronzino (1503-1572)
Magyar Nemzeti Galéria, Budapest / Bridgeman Art Library, London


'With the glorious acoustical space of Westminster Cathedral, this disc has inbuilt atmosphere, enhanced by organ improvisations and by the choir's fluent singing of plainchant Latin antiphons and psalms as they might be heard at Christmas Eve Vespers … the service has as its spiritual climax the five-part Magnificat by Tallis, sung with invigorating thrust and guts that contrast favourably with more guarded approaches to the Renaissance masters' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Christmas comes with a combination of simplicity and stunning excitement in this recording' (American Record Guide)

'The real value of this disc is the palpable sense of atmosphere in the listening. The service unfolds in the acoustic space of the great Byzantine structure, almost making the listener present … this disc is quite unique, a hugely successful evocation of Catholic cathedral worship at its best' (Fanfare, USA)

'Westminster Cathedral Choir and Martin Baker give us a rich evocation of the complete service of Vespers at the Cathedral as it is currently sung. If you close your eyes you can almost smell the incense' (MusicWeb International)

'This issue presents a purified version of the Office of Vespers as it might be heard on Christmas Eve in Westminster Cathedral, a monument steeped in art, music and spirituality. The precious thread which runs throughout the whole liturgy on this disc is the 'chant' giving the office a rhythm rich in natural beauty as well as a clarity of text and expressive language. All this uplifting experience is complimented by motets and canticles by Tallis, Victoria and Schutz with Langlais' mighty 'Fête' for organ concluding this riveting service. The Cathedral Choir under Martin Baker sing their hearts out, and while intonation and ensemble are impeccable, it is the authentic love of this music that they so successfully bequeath to the listener' (Classical.net)
The five-part setting of the Magnificat by Thomas Tallis (c1505– 1585) is a fine example of this composer’s style from the middle years of the sixteenth century. Tallis was an English composer of great ability and adaptability. He served four successive monarchs throughout the troubled Reformation period in England and produced music which suited the conditions of the time: large-scale Latin votive antiphons for Henry VIII, short miniatures in English for Edward VI, more extensive, thicker-textured Latin motets for Mary and Latin devotional motets for Elizabeth. This setting of the Magnificat is difficult to date. Its Latin text suggests that it must have been written for Henry or Mary but its style seems reminiscent of an earlier age than the mid-1550s.

from notes by Andrew Carwood © 2006

Le Magnificat à cinq parties de Thomas Tallis (env. 1505–1585) illustre bien le style que ce compositeur anglais adopta dans les années 1550. Musicien fort compétent et doué d’une grande faculté d’adaptation, Tallis servit quatre monarques successifs pendant la période troublée de la Réformation, en Angleterre, et produisit une musique adaptée aux conditions du moment: antiennes votives à grande échelle, en latin, pour Henry VIII, courtes miniatures en anglais pour Edward VI, motets en latin plus étendus, aux textures plus denses, pour Mary et motets dévotionnels en latin pour Elizabeth. Ce Magnificat est difficile à dater. Son texte latin suggère qu’il a dû être écrit pour Henry ou pour Mary, malgré un style apparemment antérieur aux années 1555.

extrait des notes rédigées par Andrew Carwood © 2006
Français: Hypérion

Die fünfstimmige Vertonung des Magnificats von Thomas Tallis (ca. 1505–1585) ist ein feines Beispiel für den Stil dieses Komponisten aus der Mitte des 16. Jahrhunderts. Tallis war ein englischer Komponist mit großen Begabungen und erstaunlicher Anpassungsfähigkeit. Er diente vier aufeinander folgenden Monarchen in der schwierigen Reformationszeit in England und schuf Musik, die den Erfordernissen der jeweiligen Zeit entsprach: groß angelegte lateinische Gedenkmotteten für Henry VIII., kurze Miniaturen auf Englisch für Edward VI., längere, vollstimmigere lateinische Motetten für Mary und lateinische Andachtsmotetten für Elizabeth I. Diese Vertonung des Magnificats ist schwer datierbar. Der lateinische Text lässt darauf schließen, dass sie für Henry oder Mary komponiert wurde, aber der musikalische Stil scheint auf eine frühere Zeit, also auf ein Kompositionsdatum vor Mitte der 1550er Jahre zu verweisen.

aus dem Begleittext von Andrew Carwood © 2006
Deutsch: Elke Hockings

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