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Track(s) taken from CDA67629

Locus iste a Deo factus est

Gradual: first performed 1869 and the dedication of the Votive Chapel of the new Linz Cathedral; 4vv
author of text

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: 3 minutes 2 seconds

Cover artwork: Ely Cathedral (detail) by Thomas Lound (1802-1861)
Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery / Bridgeman Art Library, London

Other recordings available for download

Corydon Singers, Matthew Best (conductor)
Tenebrae, Nigel Short (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)
Locus iste had its premiere at the dedication of the Votive Chapel of the newly built Linz cathedral, in the same service as the Mass in E minor. Bruckner had been appointed organist at the old cathedral in 1856, and the Bishop, Josef Franz Rüdiger—a highly conservative but very humane man—had soon become an important artistic and spiritual father-figure. The text celebrates a sacred place: for liturgical purposes this would have been the new cathedral, but Bruckner may well have been thinking of St Florian—his true spiritual home, to which he often returned in later years (especially at times of crisis). As in the symphonies, the proportions of Locus iste are carefully calculated. Take the silence before the final ‘a Deo factus est’: where most composers would be content to put a simple pause, Bruckner preserves his proportions by carefully measuring out five beats. Elegant symmetry is as vital here as in a great medieval cathedral—or, indeed, in the chaste but reassuringly contained environs of St Florian.

from notes by Stephen Johnson © 2007

Locus iste, modeste mais tout aussi éloquente, composée en 1869 et créée lors de la dédicace de la chapelle votive de la nouvelle cathédrale de Linz, durant le même service que la Messe en mi mineur. Bruckner avait été nommé organiste à l’ancienne cathédrale en 1856 et l’évêque, Josef Franz Rüdiger—un homme très conservateur mais profondément humain—, ne tarda pas à devenir pour lui un véritable père artistique et spirituel. Le texte célèbre un lieu sacré: ce fut, pour des besoins liturgiques, la nouvelle cathédrale, mais Bruckner a tout autant pu penser à Saint-Florian, sa vraie demeure spirituelle, où il retourna souvent à la fin de sa vie (surtout dans les moments de crise). Comme dans les symphonies, les proportions sont ici soigneusement calculées. Prenez le silence avant l’«a Deo factus est» final: là où la plupart des compositeurs se seraient contentés d’une banale pause, Bruckner préserve ses proportions en mesurant soigneusement cinq temps. La symétrie élégante est ici aussi vitale que dans une grande cathédrale médiévale—où dans les abords dépouillés, mais douillettement protecteurs, de Saint-Florian.

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

Die Uraufführung von Locus iste fand im gleichen Gottesdienst mit der e-Moll-Messe anlässlich der Weihe der Votivkapelle des neu gebauten Linzer Neuen Doms statt. Bruckner war 1856 als Organist im Alten Dom angestellt worden, und sein Bischof Josef Franz Rüdiger—ein sehr konservativer aber menschenfreundlicher Mann—war bald eine bedeutende künstlerische und spirituelle Vaterfigur für ihn geworden. Der Text feiert einen heiligen Ort: liturgisch gesehen wäre dies der neue Dom gewesen, aber Bruckner könnte durchaus auch an Sankt Florian gedacht haben—seine wahre spirituelle Heimat, zu der er in seinen späteren Jahren (besonders in Krisenzeiten) oft zurückkehrte. Wie in den Symphonien sind auch in Locus iste die Proportionen sorgfältig kalkuliert. Man beachte etwa die Stille vor dem letzten „a Deo factus est“: wo die meisten Komponisten sich mit einer schlichten Fermate begnügt hätten, misst Bruckner genau fünf Taktschläge aus. Elegante Symmetrie ist hier genauso wichtig wie in den großen Kathedralen des Mittelalters—oder etwa in der keuschen, aber sicheren, in sich geschlossenen Umgebung von Sankt Florian.

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

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