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Song of Songs - Palestrina, Gombert, Lassus, Victoria / Stile Antico

Album Summary

>Clemens non Papa, Jacobus : Ego flos campi
>Palestrina, Giovanni : Osculetur me osculo oris sui
>Chant, Gregorian : Dum Esset Rex, antiphon
>Guerrero, Francisco (Renaissance) : Surge Propera Amica Mea
>Gombert, Nicolas : Quam pulchra es
>Chant, Gregorian : Nigra sum, antiphon
>Lassus, Orlando de : Veni dilecte mi
>Victoria, Tomas L. de : Vadam, et circumibo civitatem, motet for 6 voices
>Chant, Gregorian : Tota pulchra es, alleluia in mode 1 (GR 630)
>Guerrero, Francisco (Renaissance) : Ego flos campi, for 8 voices
>Lhéritier, Jean : Nigra sum
>Chant, Gregorian : Laeva ejus, antiphon
>de Ceballos, Rodrigo : Hortus Conclusus
>Palestrina, Giovanni : Nigra sum sed formosa
>Chant, Gregorian : Speciosa facta es, antiphon
>Vivanco, Sebastian de : Veni dilecte mi, motet
>Guerrero, Francisco (Renaissance) : Trahe me post te, Virgo Maria, motet for 5 voices
>Chant, Gregorian : Jam hiems transit, antiphon
>Victoria, Tomas L. de : Vidi speciosam, motet for 6 voices
Performer Composers

Notes & Reviews:

"After hearing Jean Lheritier's magnificent and deeply affecting setting of Nigra sum you might understandably feel cleansed, blessed, and exonerated from all misdeeds you've ever committed, its effect is so spiritually moving and textually illuminating. And we should be grateful that the 12 (or so) singers that make up the remarkable young British vocal ensemble Stile Antico are the polished and stylish vehicle for transmitting this beauty and truth to our ears, and they do this consistently throughout a program that will intrigue and entice all Renaissance choral music fans... You get a good feeling listening to this recording: good energy, good sound, good music, good sense of style and of the music's underlying emotional and spiritual context. What more is there to say, except 'Happy listening!'" -ClassicsToday (10/10)

Song of Songs has already won the 2009 Gramophone Award for the Early Music. "This collection of settings by composers including Palestrina, Guerrero, Gombert, Victoria and Lassus of words from the biblical Song of Songs was a sumptuous and beautifully performed highlight of last year's choral releases. - Gramophone.

BBC Music Magazine
The superb singers of Stile Antico are up to the challenge of presenting all the required moods from pious restraint... to melting abandon... a magnificent display of the very best kind of polyphonic music.

The Independent
The standout piece is Tómas Luis De Victoria's epic motet "Vadam et circuibo", a masterpiece of polychoral ingenuity.

The Observer
This ensemble, its members still in their 20s and just a dozen beautifully blended voices singing a cappella, has emerged as one of the best and freshest early music choirs around. Their third CD is a selection of motet and plainchant settings from the Song of Songs, the startling Old Testament collection of erotic love poems ascribed to King Solomon.

Gramophone Magazine
These are just the sort of performances I'd hope to hear in church, which was (one feels) the practical and creative laboratory for what is recorded: full but not strained singing, allowing an advantageous acoustic and the number (212) and freshness of voices to take care of blend and balance, with plenty left in reserve for the longer spans of the two magnificent Victoria anthems, Vadam et circuibo and Vidi speciosam.

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
One expectation that such an album may raise in its listeners is an answer to the question of what common and special inspiration might composers have taken from contemplating this most erotic of Biblical texts. The symptoms of their reactions might be sensuous melismas, perhaps, and anguished suspensions, surging bass - lines and... let us draw a veil there. Such devices and stratagems are in abundance, whether chastely deployed in turn by Clemens and Palestrina or flaunted all at once in the selections of Guerrero and Gombert, though no more so than they would be on a programme of Marian or Lenten devotions; and these are just the opening four tracks.

That unfair calculation ignores the plainchant antiphons between each pair of motets. These interspersions work well - as they must in a genuinely liturgical context, as here, thanks to the quiet good taste and stylistically homogeneous approach of Stile Antico, with an especially winsome unanimity to the female - only Tota pulchra es.

Indeed, these are just the sort of performances one would hope to hear in church, which was (one feels) the practical and creative laboratory for what is recorded: full but not strained singing, allowing an advantageous acoustic and the number (12) and freshness of voices to take care of blend and balance, with plenty left in reserve for the longer spans of the two magnificent Victoria anthems, Vadam et circuibo and Vidi speciosam.



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Works Details

>Clemens non Papa, Jacobus : Ego flos campi
  • Running Time: 6 min. 5 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Written: circa 1540

>Palestrina, Giovanni : Osculetur me osculo oris sui
  • Performer: Benedict Hymas (Tenor)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 23 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Form: Vocal
  • Written: 1584

>Chant, Gregorian : Dum Esset Rex, antiphon
  • Period Time: Medieval

>Guerrero, Francisco (Renaissance) : Surge Propera Amica Mea
  • Running Time: 6 min. 7 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance

>Gombert, Nicolas : Quam pulchra es
  • Performer: Benedict Hymas (Tenor)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 10 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance

>Chant, Gregorian : Nigra sum, antiphon
  • Period Time: Medieval
  • Form: Choral

>Lassus, Orlando de : Veni dilecte mi
  • Running Time: 4 min. 19 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Form: Choral

>Tomás Luis de Victoria (Composer) (circa 1548 - 1611) : Vadam, et circumibo civitatem, motet for 6 voices
  • Performer: Benedict Hymas (Tenor)
  • Running Time: 10 min. 41 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance

>Chant, Gregorian : Tota pulchra es, alleluia in mode 1 (GR 630)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 40 sec.
  • Period Time: Medieval

>Guerrero, Francisco (Renaissance) : Ego flos campi, for 8 voices
  • Running Time: 3 min. 17 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance

>Jean Lhéritier (1480 - after 1552) : Nigra sum
  • Performer: Benedict Hymas (Tenor)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 33 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance

>Chant, Gregorian : Laeva ejus, antiphon
  • Period Time: Medieval

>de Ceballos, Rodrigo : Hortus Conclusus
  • Running Time: 5 min. 32 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance

>Palestrina, Giovanni : Nigra sum sed formosa
  • Running Time: 3 min. 57 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1584

>Chant, Gregorian : Speciosa facta es, antiphon
  • Period Time: Medieval

>Sebastián de Vivanco (1551 - 1622) : Veni dilecte mi, motet
  • Running Time: 4 min. 21 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance

>Guerrero, Francisco (Renaissance) : Trahe me post te, Virgo Maria, motet for 5 voices
  • Running Time: 5 min. 15 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance

>Chant, Gregorian : Jam hiems transit, antiphon
  • Period Time: Medieval

>Tomás Luis de Victoria (Composer) (circa 1548 - 1611) : Vidi speciosam, motet for 6 voices
  • Running Time: 6 min. 38 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Written: 1572