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Track(s) taken from CDA67479

Ave regina caelorum a 8

8vv; published in Rome in 1581 by Dominico Basa
author of text
Antiphon to the Blessed Virgin Mary, from the Feast of the Purification until the Wednesday in Holy Week

Westminster Cathedral Choir, Martin Baker (conductor), Robert Quinney (organ)
Recording details: February 2004
Westminster Cathedral, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: October 2004
Total duration: 4 minutes 34 seconds

Other recordings available for download

The Cambridge Singers, John Rutter (conductor)


'The choir of Westminster Cathedral has long been noted for its distinctive Continental-style tone, which gives its performances of Latin sacred polyphony an attractively distinctive quality. This magnificent recording, which shows off Victoria's mastery of the art of writing music for up to three choirs in the grandest possible manner, suggests that 2004 is a vintage year for them … recordings of Renaissance polyphony rarely come much better than this' (The Daily Telegraph)

'the choir is radiant in its home acoustic, and Martin Baker's well-researched decision to employ an understated organ 'continuo' adds small but telling touches of colour to the texture' (International Record Review)

'It is ideally suited to the full-throated, vibrant singing of the Westminster Cathedral Choir, while Martin Baker's finely controlled direction displays a keen architectural sense … A wonderful disc' (Goldberg)

'If you painted me into a corner and forced me to choose between Victoria and Palestrina, I’d have to choose the former, much as I love the latter. If I could have just one Victoria recording on my Desert Island, this, from Westminster Cathedral Choir directed by Martin Baker with Robert Quinney (organ) would be very high on the list … this is music that will transport you to a higher plane' (MusicWeb International)» More
The eight-part Ave regina caelorum was originally used in the liturgy as an antiphon to precede and follow the chanting of a Psalm. It is now sung as a motet at the end of Compline in the period from Purification until the Wednesday in Holy Week. Victoria wrote a five-part setting of the antiphon which was published in Venice in 1576 by Angelo Gardane, and he subsequently wrote an eight-part version, which was published in Rome in 1581 by Dominico Basa. The double-choir version, like the five-part, opens with stately figures derived from the Compline plainsong, sometimes loosely paraphrased, to produce an impressive and sonorous chordal structure, which gives way at the end of the first half to some lively passagework setting the words ‘from whence came the light of the world’. The second half of the motet begins with some joyous antiphonal exchanges in triple time illustrating the words ‘Rejoice, O glorious one, splendid above all other’ and ends in a more sombre mood with wonderful rich eight-part counterpoint to the words ‘plead always for us with Christ’.

from notes by Jon Dixon © 2004

L’Ave regina caelorum à huit voix était, à l’origine, utilisé dans la liturgie comme antienne précédant et suivant un psaume. Désormais, il est chanté comme un motet à la fin de complies pendant la période de la Purification jusqu’au mercredi de la Semaine Sainte. Victoria écrivit un arrangement à cinq voix de l’antienne, qui sera publié à Venise en 1576 par Angelo Gardane, et il en écrira par la suite une version à huit voix qui sera publiée à Rome en 1581 par Dominico Basa. La version pour deux chœurs, à l’instar de la version à cinq voix, s’ouvre sur des figures mélodiques majestueuses dérivées du plain-chant de complies, parfois paraphrasé assez librement, pour produire une structure polyphonique sonore et impressionnante, qui fait place, à la fin de la première moitié de l’œuvre, à un passage animé sur les mots «par Toi la lumière s’est levée sur le monde». La seconde moitié du motet, commence par de joyeux échanges antiphonaires à trois temps, illustrant les mots «Réjouis-toi, Vierge glorieuse, belle entre toutes les femmes» et se termine dans une atmosphère plus sombre dans un merveilleux contrepoint à huit voix sur cette phrase: «Implore le Christ pour nous».

extrait des notes rédigées par Jon Dixon © 2004
Français: Marie Luccheta

Das achtstimme Ave regina caelorum wurde in der Liturgie ursprünglich als Antiphon vor und nach dem Singen des Psalms eingesetzt. Heutzutage singt man den Text als Motette am Ende der Komplet in der Zeit zwischen Maria Lichtmeß (2. Februar) und dem Mittwoch in der Karwoche. Victoria schrieb eine fünfstimmige, 1576 bei Angelo Gardane in Venedig im Druck erschienene Vertonung der Antiphon. Später schrieb Victoria auch noch eine achtstimmigen Fassung, die 1581 bei Dominico Basa in Rom veröffentlicht wurde. Die doppelchörige Fassung beginnt wie die fünfstimmige mit einer stattlichen Geste, die von dem gregorianischen Choral der Komplet abgeleitet wurde und ihn leicht paraphrasiert. Auf der Grundlage dieser Geste baut Victoria eine beeindruckende und satte homophone Passage auf, die gegen Ende der ersten Hälfte lebhaften Läufen auf die Worte „durch die das Licht gekommen ist“ weicht. Die zweite Hälfte der Motette beginnt mit freudigem Wechselgesang im Dreiermetrum, der die Worte „Erfreue dich, Jungfrau, deiner Würde, die du vor allen lieblich bist“ musikalisch ausmalt, und endet in einer ernsteren Stimmung mit einem wunderbaren reichen achtstimmigen Kontrapunkt auf die Worte „Erflehe du … uns Gnade stets bei Jesus Christ“.

aus dem Begleittext von Jon Dixon © 2004
Deutsch: Elke Hockings

Other albums featuring this work

Lighten our Darkness
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This album is not yet available for downloadSACDA67479Super-Audio CD
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