Lassus: Penitential Psalms
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Lassus was one of the most prolific of all Renaissance composers, writing an extraordinary quantity of music of high quality and in an exceptionally wide range of styles. Only a handful of Lassus' contemporaries begin to approach his compositional refinement and scarcely any can match his innate ability to express the meaning of a text so clearly. This skill comes to the fore in these setting of the seven Penitential Psalms, texts which held an important place in the liturgy during the Church's build-up to Easter. These are works of a profoundly gloomy nature.

Each Psalm takes its 'mode' (or 'tonality') from one of the sequence of eight 'modes' by which plainchant had come to be categorized. Lassus solves the problem of what to do with the eighth mode by amalgamating two of the so-called 'Laudate' Psalms (those beginning with the word 'Laudate'—an instruction to the people to praise God) into a work full of vitality. Although having absolutely no liturgical link with the Penitential Psalms, Lassus published all eight works together, perhaps exactly because they are so different in mood.

CDD22056  141 minutes 18 seconds (2 discs)
‘Vocal chamber music of a very high order’ (Choir & Organ)
‘This ensemble offers an extraordinarily convincing and unfailingly absorbing realization of the intimacy and dark introspection central to these wonderful compositions. A recording that belongs in an ...
‘It has been a long wait, but we now have the Penitential Psalms readily available in a set that will give lasting satisfaction. Seize the day!’ (Fanfare, USA)