- Conductor: Harry Christophers
- Composer: Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
- Audio CD (28 Jan. 2013)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Coro
- ASIN: B00ABQM4PW
- Other Editions: Audio CD
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 57,364 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Palestrina Vol. 3 (Harry Christophers, The Sixteen, Harry Christophers) (Coro: COR16106)
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A towering figure in Renaissance polyphony, Palestrina is arguably one of the greatest composers of Liturgical music of all time. Harry Christophers and The Sixteen continue their exploration of his work with a disc of music for the Easter period.
Many of the works on this new recording celebrate the joyful part of Easter - the Resurrection - and the central mass on this disc is the wonderfully inspired Missa Regina caeli. The Mass is based on the well-known, immediately recognisable, plainchant Antiphon Regina caeli and the recording also includes the 8-voice motet of the same name.
As with volumes 1 and 2 this disc also includes three of Palestrina's settings of the Song of Songs alongside three offertories for the Easter period and the hymn Ad caenam agni provide.
This disc would not be complete, however, without the exquisite 8-voice Stabat Mater - possibly Palestrina's most famous piece in current times and a work that emphasises the other side of the Easter story - the agony and pain of the Crucifixion.
In the third of their Palestrina series, the Sixteen have chosen music for Easter. They open with the eight-voice Stabat Mater, written c1590 for the papal choir to sing in Holy Week. The subject the grieving mother at the foot of the cross is all the more anguished in this unadorned double-choir setting, sung with full, pure tone and welcome momentum. In addition to Song of Songs settings and Easter offertories, the main work is the Missa Regina Caeli, which Palestrina wrote near the end of his life, when he longed to retire and give over his soul "in contemplation of the Divine". The Sixteen have their own divine qualities, generously on display here. --Guardian,17/03/13
Throughout the 20 verses meditating on Mary's feelings at the cross, every ounce of implied drama, of unsettled feeling, and of deep reflection is brought to bear on a performance of superbly crafted form, nuanced dynamics, overlapping phrasing and effortless tuning. Performance **** Recording **** --BBC Music Magazine, Awards issue'13
The Sixteen's Palestrina cycle may just be a classic in the making. --Gramophone, May'13
It is in the Song of songs we find The Sixteen and Christophers at their most subtly beguiling, the rich imagery of the texts-vineyards, flocks of sheep and goats, cheeks, beautiful as doves - and Palestrina's classical, understated word painting brought out with a graceful, mellifuous sonority and supple phraising. --IRR, July /Aug'13
Top Customer Reviews
It's English singing - a sensible relationship with God - but intonation and flexibility excellent,
and the male voices especially strong and pleasing. This is an excellent series. Keep going HC!
Have enjoyed listening to this
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Early in his career, Palestrina studied with German composers then living in Italy and learned their contrapuntal techniques. As a result, he became the first Italian composer to wed northern European counterpoint with Italian cantabile style, which was later widely imitated by other composers, both Italian and non-Italian. Counterpoint is woven into most of the selections on this CD, the third that The Sixteen have produced of Palestrina's music.
This CD focuses on music for the Easter cycle, leading off with Stabat Mater for eight vocal lines. This is one of Palestrina's best known works and is beautifully performed here. After a hymn with antiphons, three settings of verses from the Song of Songs, attributed to King Solomon but actually written centuries later, follow. (The first three songs are on Volume 2.) There are three offertories for Easter. The volume concludes with an Easter mass: "Missa Regina Caeli," based in part on a motet of the same name.
The Sixteen (actually, 18 voices are noted in the brochure) handle the complexities of this contrapuntal music adroitly and with beautiful singing in a polished performance. My favorite selections are the Stabat Mater and the three songs, but all this music is glorious, and sung gloriously. The sound quality, recorded in 2012, is outstanding. The enclosed brochure is informative about Palestrina and about the selections on this disk. A translation of the Latin verses is included, along with info about the Sixteen and their director, Harry Christophers. If you like Palestrina's sacred a cappella music, you'll love this volume and the preceding two volumes as well. (Vol. 3 is also available as an MP3 download.)