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Crux fidelis

composer
author of text

 
This favourite polyphonic setting of the eighth stanza of the hymn Pange lingua was first published in an eleven-volume collection of ‘musique ancienne’ issued in Paris in 1843–5, where it is given a date of 1615 and ascribed to John IV, King of Portugal. He was indeed a composer, but as he was born in 1604, the date, at least, is unlikely. All but this and one other of his compositions were said to have been destroyed with the royal library in the Lisbon earthquake and fire of 1755, so there is scant basis for stylistic comparison, but it must be seriously doubted whether Crux fidelis was written in the seventeenth century at all. Its chromaticism extends to notes and chords far-fetched for all except an experimenter of Gesualdo-like boldness: eleven dominant seventh chords (to use an anachronistic term) occur in the piece’s thirty-one bars. The effect is more like the consciously ‘churchy’ sacred music of Liszt than the work of a younger contemporary of Monteverdi. This is not to question the excellence of Crux fidelis (which, within its brief span, is a deeply expressive piece) but rather to open up the issue of its true origin.

from notes by Collegium Records © 2009

Recordings

Santiago a cappella
SDG710Download only
The Golden Age
SIGCD119Download only
The Sacred Flame
COLCD134Download only

Details

Track 15 on COLCD134 [2'31] Download only
Track 4 on SDG710 [3'00] Download only
Track 1 on SIGCD119 [9'51] Download only

Track-specific metadata for COLCD134 track 15

Artists
ISRC
GB-AKR-08-13415
Duration
2'31
Recording date
1 January 2009
Recording venue
Great Hall, University College School, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Simon Eadon
Recording engineer
Simon Eadon & Hugh Walker
Hyperion usage
  1. The Sacred Flame (COLCD134)
    Disc 1 Track 15
    Release date: March 2009
    Download only
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