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Track(s) taken from CDA67629

Christus factus est

WAB11; 1884; third setting; dedicated to Fr Otto Loidol, Krems-münster; 4vv
author of text
Philippians 2: 8-9; Gradual for Maundy Thursday

Polyphony, Stephen Layton (conductor)
Recording details: January 2007
Ely Cathedral, United Kingdom
Produced by Adrian Peacock
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: October 2007
Total duration: 6 minutes 6 seconds

Cover artwork: Ely Cathedral (detail). Thomas Lound (1802-1861)
Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery / Bridgeman Images

Other recordings available for download

Corydon Singers, Matthew Best (conductor)
St Paul's Cathedral Choir, John Scott (conductor)
The Cambridge Singers, John Rutter (conductor)
Royal Holloway Choir, Rupert Gough (conductor)
Tenebrae, Nigel Short (conductor)
King's College Choir Cambridge, Sir Stephen Cleobury (conductor)


‘Peace and goodwill would be the order of the day if Father Christmas could hand out to all and sundry copies of Polyphony's recording of the Bruckner's Mass in E minor. No disc I've heard this year comes near it for sheer beauty … Polyphony, whose sound is … smoothly rounded, fully blended and sumptuous … Layton produces such gorgeous sounds from his singers that the overall listening experience is infinitely satisfying … the seven unaccompanied motets are absolute gems. An ethereal account of Ave Maria has a breadth and grandeur which belies its short time-span; as the vocal lines crowd in on each other, the effect is nothing short of electrifying. And popular as it is, if there has to be a 'definitive' interpretation on disc of Locus iste, this has to be it. Put it simply, we're unlikely to hear choral singing as fine as this for a good few years to come’ (Gramophone)

‘This really excellent offering from Polyphony … Polyphony trumps all others for beauty of tone … in the Benedictus, too, musical sense arises from transparency and intelligent phrasing … the performances of the motets are excellent, too, painting nuanced pictures of these vocally and philosophically stratospheric pieces’ (BBC Music Magazine)

‘Polyphony and the Britten Sinfonia catch the music's starkness, exaltation and mysticism as movingly as I have heard. This is a searching performance, with soft singing of awed intensity, but also an unusually dramatic one. Stephen Layton never allows Bruckner's music, even at its most unearthly, to become becalmed; and he builds climaxes of molten intensity in, say, the Sanctus, or the fervent motet Christus factus est. A glorious disc of music that strives for, and ultimately attains, a state of transcendent peace’ (The Daily Telegraph)

‘I wasn’t prepared for the excellence of this program … the musicianship is so sophisticated, so meticulous that it’s impossible not to get swept up in what the singers are doing … what really captures my attention is the spectrum of vocal colors these singers create in pianissimo range … Maestro Layton’s performances inspire the soul even as they break the heart with their intense beauty’ (American Record Guide)

‘This album finds the composer secure in his spiritual home, serving God in music transcendent. Stephen Layton's reading of the Second Mass articulates sublime, prayer-like qualities routinely overlooked and underplayed by others. The approach … is revelatory, rich in contrasts, fervent outbursts and symphonic tension … an outstanding release’ (Classic FM Magazine)

‘The performance is strong and characterful: beautifully sung by Polyphony and subtly, imaginatively accompanied by the Britten Sinfonia's wind band … the group sing with ravishing, lustrous tone throughout and phrase and colour magnificently. Their dynamic and dramatic range is great and tension is continually racked up under the baton of Stephen Layton, though never at the expense of vocal purity, profundity of expression or dignity of delivery’ (MusicOHM.com)
Christus factus est appeared in 1884—the same year as the Te Deum for chorus, four soloists, organ and orchestra. Harmonically this is more exploratory than the Mass in E minor, with some extraordinary modulations following the words ‘mortem autem crucis’ (‘even the death of the cross’)—a test of any choir’s security of pitch. More than any of Bruckner’s great motets, Christus factus est follows an almost symphonic path of motivic and harmonic development—a striking parallel to Christ’s journey of ‘obedience unto death’. All suggestion of triumphalism is avoided in the final reference to the ‘name which is above every name’.

from notes by Stephen Johnson © 2007

Christus factus est parut en 1884—l’année du Te Deum pour chœur, quatre solistes, orgue et orchestre. Harmoniquement parlant, cette œuvre est plus exploratoire que la Messe en mi mineur, avec d’extraordinaires modulations après les mots «mortem autem crucis» («mort sur la croix»)—un test pour la hauteur de son de tout chœur. Plus qu’aucun autre grand motet de Bruckner, Christus factus est a un développement motivique et harmonique presque symphonique—un saisissant parallèle avec le parcours du Christ, «de l’obéissance à la mort». La référence finale au «nom qui est au-dessus de tout nom» évite toute suggestion de triomphalisme.

extrait des notes rédigées par Stephen Johnson © 2007
Français: Hyperion Records Ltd

Christus factus est erschien 1884—im gleichen Jahr wie das Te Deum für Chor, vier Solisten, Orgel und Orchester. Harmonisch ist es experimentierfreudiger als die e-Moll-Messe, mit einigen außerordentlichen Modulationen, die den Worten „mortem autem crucis“ („Tod am Kreuze“) folgen—ein Test für die Intonationssicherheit aller Chöre. Mehr als alle anderen großen Motetten Bruckners folgt Christus factus est einem nahezu symphonischen Pfad motivischer und harmonischer Verarbeitung—eine bemerkenswerte Parallele zu Christi Weg der „Gehorsamkeit bis in den Tod“. Jedweder Anklang von Triumphalismus wird in der letzten Nennung des „Namens über alle Namen“ vermieden.

aus dem Begleittext von Stephen Johnson © 2007
Deutsch: Renate Wendel

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