Aureole etc.




Nimbus on-line




If it’s the Czech works you’re after, do not hesitate

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android


Mahler symphony 6 Nott


Vaughan Williams Symphony 3 etc.


Lyrita New Recording


Lyrita Premiere Recordings

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

 

 

 


REVIEW


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 

alternatively
AmazonUK AmazonUS


Tomás Luis De VICTORIA (1548–1611)
Missa Gaudeamus - a liturgical sequence, with organ works by Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583–1643)
FRESCOBALDI Toccata avanti la Messa * [1:15]
Chant Introit: Gaudeamus omnes - mode I [3:39]
VICTORIA Kyrie (Missa Gaudeamus) [4:26]
Gloria (Missa Gaudeamu) [7:50]
Chant Collect: Famulorum tuorum, quaesumus Domine [0:59]
Epistle: Lectio libri Sapientiae [2:24]
Gradual: Propter veritatem - mode V [2:47]
Alleluia: Assumpta est Maria in caelum - mode V [2:25]
FRESCOBALDI Canzon dopo l’Epistola * [1:13]
Chant Gospel: In illo tempore: intravit Jesus in quoddam castellum [2:01]
VICTORIA Credo (Missa Gaudeamus) [11:23]
FRESCOBALDI Recercar dopo il Credo * [2:39]
Chant Offertory: Assumpta est Maria - mode VIII [2:08]
VICTORIA Motet: Vidi speciosam, Part 1 [3:45]
Chant Preface: Vere dignum et iustum est, aequum et salutare [2:54]
VICTORIA Sanctus (Missa Gaudeamus) [3:15]
Benedictus (Missa Gaudeamus) [2:43]
Chant Pater noster [1:58]
VICTORIA Agnus Dei (Missa Gaudeamus) [5:13]
Chant Communion: Optimam partem elegit sibi Maria - mode VIII [0:44]
VICTORIA Motet: Vidi speciosam, Part 2: Quae est ista [3:19]
Chant Post-communion: Mensae caelestis participes effecti [1:43]
FRESCOBALDI Recercar: Sancta Maria * [2:24]
Thomas Wilson*; Lay Clerks of Westminster Cathedral/Matthew Martin
rec. Westminster Cathedral, London, 7-10 July 2008. DDD.
Texts and translations included
HYPERION CDA67748 [73:20] 
Experience Classicsonline



Victoria's Missa Gaudeamus was written in 1576 when the composer was the Maestro di Cappella at the Collegio Germanico. Victoria also taught the German seminarians music, conversing with them in Latin. We may thus suppose that this six-part mass probably had its origins in music that Victoria wrote to be sung in the college, where we might assume that it was sung by an all-male group of talented musical seminarians. Though the Sistine Chapel used castrati on the top two lines of the choir, the Spanish Royal Chapels tended to use falsettists and we must assume that smaller chapels might have done likewise.

I bring up this matter of who might have sung the mass because on this new recording from Westminster Cathedral, the Lay Clerks of the Cathedral Choir have recorded the mass under the direction of Matthew Martin. They sing without boys, assigning the six voices of the mass to AATTBB in entirely convincing fashion.

The mass is based on a motet by Morales, Jubilate Deo omnis terra. Morales uses the plainchant proper Gaudeamus omnes as a cantus firmus. Victoria does the same - hence the name of the mass. So that, for example, in the Kyrie the chant is assigned to the second tenor part and in the second (and concluding) Agnus Dei the second alto part uses the Gaudeamus chant (in long notes). An additional baritone part forms a canon at the octave - a suitably rich conclusion to a wonderful mass.

The proper Gaudeamus omnes is used as Introit on a number of festivals including the Feast of the Assumption. Taking their cue from this Matthew Martin and his singers have assembled a programme of polyphony and chant which covers both the Propers and Ordinary for the Feast of the Assumption, interspersed with organ music by Frescobaldi. The result makes a supremely satisfying whole, displaying the polyphony embedded in chant rather than as a found object all on its own. The programme is completed with Victoria's substantial motet, Vidi speciosam, which takes its text from the first Responsory at Matins for the Feast of the Assumption.

This is no archaeological reconstruction, neither in content nor in style of performance. Regarding content, the music is that which might have been sung for the Feast of the Assumption during Victoria's lifetime, but represents no particular historical occasion. Regarding the style of performance, it must be borne in mind that the Lay Clerks sing chant and polyphony at Westminster Cathedral on a regular basis, with an ethos and style which has as its basis the reforms of the monks of Solesmes at the end of the nineteenth century. The way they sing plainchant is probably quite different to the chant singing in sixteenth century Rome.

But the sheer fact that the Lay Clerks sing regularly at Mass means that their performance has many indefinable characteristics which arise out of the use of chant within the liturgy. Simply, they sound as if they have been singing plainchant all their lives and that the chant means something. This is an important point. Whilst there is music to admire in their performance, choirs such as that at Westminster cannot always provide music-making on an exalted scale as the Tallis Scholars. Instead we get the benefit that the effect of a regular diet of chant within the liturgy brings.

To consider the mass performance first; the choir makes a strong rich sound. They sing with a notably good sense of line and a feeling for the ebb and flow of the polyphony, but this is no coolly perfect performance. Individual voices are evident and you get the feeling that this is a group of individuals rather than an ensemble where individual sound is completely subjugated to the sound of the total ensemble. That said, there is something rather English in the rapt perfection of the performance. I would imagine that if sung by one of the contemporary Italian groups, vocal lines would be rather more vividly vibrant.

The group seems to have been recorded relatively closely, capturing their rich sound before it evaporates into the vastness of the Cathedral. This disc definitely does not reflect the sound you would hear if you were sat in the nave, but rather that you would probably hear it if sitting in the apse with the choir. The mass has rather a dark texture - Tess Knighton in her Gramophone review of Andrew Carwood's recording describes the mass as being dark as chocolate. There are moments when voices are pushed towards their limit, notably the first altos and first tenors, but this is never unpleasant and somehow adds to the passionate effect of the performance.

Victoria's motet Vide Speciosam is split into its two parts and one sung as an offertory motet, the other as communion. The motet is less elaborately polyphonic than the mass and makes a good foil.

The surrounding plainchant is what makes a fine performance into something special. Besides all the propers, the disc also includes the Epistle and Gospel (both sung) as well as the Pater Noster. The Lay Clerks way with plainchant is both mellifluous and involving; this is the sort of disc I could imagine giving to someone to convince of the beauties of chant.

The four Frescobaldi organ pieces, played by Thomas Wilson, provide a welcome breath of fresh air through the proceedings. The final organ piece, Recercar: Sancta Maria adds fifth sung part to the four-part organ texture; the organ plays close textured imitative writing based on the Gaudeamus chant and the voices sing this to the words Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis. 
Missa Gaudeamus has been recorded by the Cardinall's Musick, under Andrew Carwood, where they couple the mass with the Missa pro Victoria and motets. Carwood uses women on the top two lines, as might be expected.

For the motet, Vidi Speciosam, the choir are in competition with themselves as a 1985 disc, under David Hill, coupled the motet with the mass of the same name, and they also recorded it in 1973 under Colin Mawby.

The CD booklet includes a long note on the music, which includes pointers to the liturgy for those unfamiliar, plus texts in English and Latin.

Robert Hugill

see also review by Brian Wilson

 
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

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

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      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

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

Nostalgia

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

Comment
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

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
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
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
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
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
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.