One of the most grown-up review sites around


2019
51,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

TROUBADISC

colourful imaginative harmony
Renate Eggebrecht violin


Leticia Gómez-Tagle
Chopin, Liszt, Scarlatti


Bax Piano Music


Guillaume LEKEU


Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website



Acte Prealable returns
with New Releases


Superior performance


Shostakovich 6&7 Nelsons
Notable


Verdi Requiem Thielemann


Marianna Henriksson
An outstanding recital


Arnold Bax
Be converted


this terrific disc


John Buckley
one of my major discoveries


François-Xavier Roth
A game-changing Mahler 3

........................................

Bryden Thomson


Symphonies


Vaughan Williams Concertos


RVW Orchestral

 


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Orlande de LASSUS (1532-1594)
Missa Bell' Amfitrit' altera [24:30]
Psalmus Poenitentialis VII [22:11]
Omnes de Saba [3:17]
Salve Regina [5:36]
Alma Redemptoris Mater [4:00]
Psalmus Poenitentialis V [39:26]
Tui sunt coeli [3:24]
Missa Super Triste Départ [22:10]
Missa Super Quand'io pens'al martire [21:30]
Motet: Vinum Bonum [4:15]
Missa ad imitationem Vinum Bonum [17:12]
Christ Church Cathedral Choir, Oxford/Simon Preston
Choir of King's College Cambridge/Stephen Cleobury
rec. 1973, The Chapel of Merton College, Oxford; 1975, Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford; 1993, King's College, Cambridge
Notes but no texts, ADD/DDD
ELOQUENCE 482 8566 [3 CDs: 167:51]

This three CD set is an Oxbridge combination of two recordings made in the 70’s and a digital recording made twenty years later of choral music by the celebrated Franco-Flemish polyphonist Orlande de Lassus.

The Missa Bell' Amfitrit' altera and the Missa Vinum Bonum are both ‘parody masses’, their main themes being based on a pre-existent secular madrigal – as yet unidentified - and Lassus’ liturgical motet respectively and were written for double choirs and are consequently more elaborate than the other items here; all three were critically acclaimed at the time of their release and their compilation here represents a welcome bargain, especially as Lassus is still the least performed and recorded of the ‘Big Three’ of his era, the other two being Palestrina and de Victoria. Unfortunately, although the original issues provided texts, there are none here, but we do have new, entertaining and informative notes by the Catholic scholar, author, organist and composer R.J. Stove. It would be otiose to judge them by strict HIP standards, but we must acknowledge that they are sung in the English choral-school style, using sizeable vocal forces and boys’ voices in the treble line.

There is a difference between the Oxford and Cambridge approaches: there is a bell-like clarity to Christ Church choir, whereas King’s is smoother and more rounded, but both are magnificent. The ambient acoustics are different, too: there is always some sort of faint rumble in the background of the King’s chapel and the choir is recorded quite closely, whereas in Christ Church, there is more distance between the singers and the listener, and I prefer those analogue recordings. However, these are marginal considerations, as dynamic grading and word-painting are equally exemplary and the inner-part voices emerge distinctly in both. I also like the fact that both choirs retain that peculiarly innocent and moving quality which derives only from the more resinous timbre of pre-pubescent male voices rather than the purer, more disembodied sound which results from using female sopranos in the top line.

I suggest that attempting to listen to the four masses, two sets of penitential psalms and five motets on all three CDs without breaks will result in aural indigestion, lovely though the music is; Lassus provides variety by sometimes writing for only two vocal lines in the Psalms or short passages for only four solo voices in certain of the Masses, which provides contrast with, and greater impact for, the return of the tutti mode, but this music is best sampled in controlled measures, the diet is so rich. Nor is the music all floaty transcendence; there are, for example, especially with the Christ Church choir in the Psalms, moments when then they may heard really letting rip without coarsening their tone.

It may be the product of hearing this music performed by quintessentially English choirs that I hear in the soaring treble lines, dense textures and gorgeous suspensions here so much kinship between Lassus’ idiom and that of near-contemporary English composers such as Tallis, Byrd and Taverner, but the associations are inescapable to my ears – and that is to the detriment of neither Lassus nor those gentlemen.

Ralph Moore
 



We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews


Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger