One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger

CD REVIEW



Some items
to consider



CD and Blue-ray Audio


CD and Blue-ray Audio


CPE Bach Cantatas
a revelation


Biber: Sacred Choral Works
Don't miss it


Jonathan Dove


Tommie Haglund
Unique and Powerful music


Organ Fireworks


Highly Entertaining


A triumphant performance


Bruckner Symphony 4
One of the finest I have heard


A most joy-inducing recording


A winning partnership


A Lohengrin to treasure.

 


alternatively AmazonUK   AmazonUS

 

 

Giovanni Pierluigi da PALESTRINA (1525/26-1594)
Offertoria, from Offertoria totius anni secundum Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae consuetudinem (Rome 1593)
Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge/Richard Marlow
rec. Chapel of Trinity College, Cambridge, 6-8 July 1999
CHANDOS CHACONNE CHAN 0732 [68:18]

 


Palestrina’s Offertoria was published in 1593, containing 68 pieces which cover every Sunday and festival of the church year. The present recording covers most of the offertories from Advent Sunday to Trinity Sunday. The tradition in Rome at the time was to have motets performed at the point in the service where bread and wine were placed upon the altar, along with other rituals such as incensing and washing of hands. This context in terms of compositional style means that Palestrina was at his most conservative, avoiding extended word-painting, dance-like rhythms and unprepared dissonances. Melodies are balanced, and all is graceful lines and elegant proportions. The pieces move through a variety of modes, and the order of the programme has been selected so that the voices move from Dorian through to Hypomixolydian. The alterations in vocal texture between these modes or ‘keys’ is subtle, and easily missed in casual listening, but the overall effect is like moving through the different regions of a vast cathedral – unified by a single architect, but given differences of light and shade though a variety of stained-glass windows.

One slight mystery is that this appears to be a reissue of a CD on the GMN label, with identical track listings, personnel and music; judging by the sound samples on one website. There is no acknowledgement of this in the Chandos booklet. As you might expect, the music is exquisitely sung and beautifully recorded. The Chapel of Trinity College has a pleasantly roomy acoustic, blending the voices without becoming swimmy. If there is any criticism on my part, then it might be the neutral, middle-distance placing of the choir, which results in a more or less mf dynamic for a great deal of the time, although this is of course more or less how the music might be experienced in a service setting. The choral sound has a very pleasant homogeneity to it, with no voices leaping out at you, even at the most expressive moments. Such a procession of ‘safe’ choral repertoire might come across as monotonous, but in fact there is a great deal of subtle variety, with numbers like the Jubilate Deo universa terra providing some more lively contrast. Compared with the more famous masses, it is fascinating hear how Palestrina works with the more compact canvas of these shorter pieces.

One can have such a CD on as an ambient aural tapestry, but listening with closer attentiveness to the polyphonic lines rewards the mind and touches feelings both remote and familiar. It makes a nice change to hear these works in this collected context, and this disc is a welcome member of the Renaissance catalogue.

Dominy Clements 

 

 


 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical



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
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger
 

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.