Schubert sonatas

Newest Releases

Piano solo and duet
  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Some items
to consider

Free classical music concerts by Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.


Moravec - Twelfth Night Recital
15%off £17.21 (until Dec 7)

Katerina Englichová - harp
15%0ff £10.83 (until Dec 7)

  • Today's leading<br>clarinet-piano duo
  • Stellar debut<br>piano recital
  • Clarinet transcriptions Jonathan Cohler
  • Jonathan Cohler & Claremont Trio
  • French clarinet masterpieces
  • Today's leading<br>clarinet-piano duo

Sibelius Symphonies Maazel
4CDs + Blu-ray audio
Special Price £36.75

RVW A Sea Symphony - Elder

Shostakovich Symphony 10 Nelsons

Verdi Requiem

Dvorak Opera Premiere

Grieg, Mendelssohn sonatas




Would you like a hyperlinked weekly summary of the CDs we have reviewed?

Click for further details

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
Classical Editor
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Cameo Classics
Prima voce
Red Priest
Toccata Classics

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
Classical Editor
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

AmazonUK AmazonUS

Dominique PHINOT (c.1510-1561)
Missa Si bona suscepimus
[23.51]; Pater peccavi [7.50]; Tanto tempore [3.57]; Iam non dicam vos servus [4.23]; O Sacrum convivium [4.33]; Incipit oratio Jeremiae prophetae [11.30]; Magnificat octavi toni [5.24]; Confitebor tibi, Domine [6.56]
Claudin de SERMISY (1490-1562)
Si bona suscepimus

Brabant Ensemble/Stephen Rice
rec. 29-31 August 2008, Chapel of Harcourt Hill campus, Oxford Brookes University
HYPERION CDA67696 [74.13] 

Experience Classicsonline

So here we are again: so much to learn, so much to discover. In Phinot we have a composer, a very prolific one, of two masses, about one hundred motets (publ. 1547-8) as well as Vesper psalms and Magnificats. His music was performed and published well after his execution for committing homosexual acts probably at the height of his fame. He has never had a CD devoted to his music before and I have never come across anything of his, ever. Please let me know if there have been previous recordings. We know little about his life apart from the occasional reference. He appears to have been a cathedral singer at coastal Italian city of
Pesaro. If you go there today, as I did three years ago for the opera festival, you will find no reference to Phinot. On the other hand Rossini was born there and his name is celebrated far and wide in the city. All that we are left with is the music; what is it like? 

If you are to make an investment into a new or unknown composer you need to be able to trust the performers. With the Brabant Ensemble and the musicianship and prowess of Stephen Rice you know that you are in safe hands. 

It’s good that Phinot’s Mass takes centre-stage, even if it’s quite a short one by the standards of his time. It is a parody mass using Sermisy’s somewhat solemn and melancholy setting from the Book of Job “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away”. It is a moving work, but in the hands of Phinot it blossoms and develops into something of an ecstatic and joyous experience. There are several similarities between motet and mass. First, both are in four parts, second each has passages of paired imitation, upper voices for instance echoed by lower. Imitation was more a product of the earlier generation, men like Gombert and Josquin; we do not know who Phinot’s teachers were. Thirdly there are many homophonic passages to create contrast. ‘Sit nomen Domini benedictum’ in the motet (Blessed be the name of the Lord). This is set homophonically to wondrously still and simple chords. Finally there are shared melodic fragments as Rice and Roger Jacob point out in their interesting shared booklet notes. It seems to me that the mass might be an early work as the cadences have an early Renaissance feel and the final chord is often minus its third. 

The motets show similar stylistic traits, mixing homophonic passages to highlight certain aspects of the texts with strict imitation. Four of them are in eight parts utilizing the then burgeoning interest in double-choir settings; long before those lauded ones by Gabrieli. The booklet writers give us the rather obscure names of Ruffino d’Assisi and Francesco Santacroce. They were slightly older contemporaries of Phinot who were discovering double-choir imitative motets at the time. This writing contrasted high with low registers, as happens most movingly in ‘Tanto tempore’ a setting of a few lines from St. John. 

The Lamentations setting is unusual in that it does not set the opening Hebrew letters but runs as a continuous motet. It is also in eight parts. Here the second verse is set for the upper voices and the third verse for the lower. This means that the fourth verse is well contrasted for the two opposing choirs – a good textural contrast. The final ‘Jerusalem’ section is set homophonically. 

The other double-choir pieces are the joyous ‘Iam non dicam’ another setting of a passage from St. John and the serenely homophonic ‘O sacrum convivium’. For some reason they feel reminiscent of Victoria a composer yet to be born. 

There are three motets in four and five parts. The brief and cheerful ‘Magnificat’ is written as an ‘alternatum’ setting with plainsong. It is in four parts but the Gloria has a canonic five part texture. Similar in style is the simple and unremarkable vesper psalm setting (no 110)   ‘Confitebor tibi, Domine’ which ends the CD. I save the most remarkable piece until the end, that is the setting of ‘Pater peccavi’ which takes the words of the Prodigal son as he contemplates his penniless plight away from home. At the moment of his deepest depression, Phinot allows the music to drift down into dark ‘flat’ keys resulting in some extraordinarily expressive and dissonant harmonies. At ‘Surgam et ibo’ –‘I will arise and go to my father’, the tonality makes its way home via some marvellous sequences. All of this is explained in the booklet. 

The Brabant ensemble - normally sixteen singers - has been amazingly prolific for Hyperion in the last three years. This is their sixth disc. They have introduced us to some little known figures like Manchicourt (see review) and Crecquillon (see review) and more recently, although musically less satisfying they tackled the Chirk Castle part-books (see review). Also it is not at all surprising that their recent Morales disc (see review) has been nominated for the 2009 Gramophone early music awards. They have a gloriously fresh, yet intensely expressive sound, intonation is miraculous and they are aided on each occasion by a superb acoustic and recording. 

As well as the aforementioned essay the disc comes with full texts, well translated. The cover is adorned with a beautiful section of George de la Tour’s ‘Job mocked by his wife’ which fits neatly the text of the motet on which the mass is based.

Gary Higginson 




Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.