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Early Music

Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Founder Len Mullenger

Orlandus LASSUS (1532 - 1594)
Music for Easter Sunday (directed by Bruno Turner)
Hymn for Lauds: Aurora lucis rutilat (10vv) [4’46]
Motet: Surgens Jesus (5vv) [3’22] (pub.1562)
Motet: Christus resurgens (5vv) [2’41] (pub.1582)
Motet: Regina coeli laetare (5vv) [2’24] (pub.1604)
Magnificat super Aurora lucis rutilat (10vv) [8’22] (pub.1619)
Requiem for four voices (pub.1578) (directed by Mark Brown) [43’36]: Introitus: Requiem aeternam [6’55]; Kyrie [3’38]; Graduale: Si ambulem in medio umbrae [4’55]; Tractus: Absolve Domine [3’29]; Sequentiae: Dies irae [6’24]; Offertorium: Domine Jesu Christe, Rex gloriae [6’11]; Sanctus [4’14]; Agnus Dei [2’58]; Communio: Lux aeterna luceat eis [2’58]; Antiphon: In paradisum [1’21]
Pro Cantione Antiqua/Bruno Turner
Recorded in St. John’s Church, Hackney, London on 24-29 August (Easter Music) and 21-22 October (Requiem) 1981
Formerly Hyperion CDA66322
REGIS RRC1124 [68’00"]


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This is the second of the two discs that make up the Hyperion Dyad CDD22012, devoted to the music of Lassus. The Lamentations which made up the first disc have been discussed, and this issue brings motets, a magnificat, and the Requiem mass. The immediate difference is felt in the opening motets, where soprano voices are added to the male ensemble of Pro Cantione Antiqua. This eases the fairly considerable onus on the admittedly high counter-tenors, and gives a more restful sound without the strain of reaching for the near-unattainable. Unfortunately, the booklet does not state who is singing in which item, although for the two ten-part settings there are obviously two sopranos, the arrangement being of two five-part choirs. These motets are a totally different matter from the Lamentations, being able to express much more forcefully according to the text. The magnificat is broadly based upon the Hymn of the same name, but not in a manner that would be immediately apparent. Again the presentation and performance of these items is good, the diction excellent and the recording well up to the original’s standard.

The Requiem Mass for four voices reverts to the format of male voices. It is a slow, even ponderous, work, fully justifying its purpose as a Mass for the deceased. Several plainchant passages have been included in order to "recreate the atmosphere", all from the Office for the Dead: thus the Tractus Absolve Domine, the Sequentiae Dies irae and finally the In paradisum from the Burial Service. The work is necessarily subdued and peaceful but at 43’36" takes determined listening.

A welcome alternative to the full priced Dyad, or a choice should you not want the full offerings.

John Portwood

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