Aureole etc.




Nimbus on-line




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

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


CD REVIEW

Some items
to consider

 


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


Tudor 7188


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

 

 

 

 

alternatively
AmazonUK AmazonUS


A Spotless Rose
John Tavener (b.1944)
Hymn to the Mother of God [3:32]
Josquin Des Pres (c.1450–c.1521)
Ave Maria (4vv) [7:03]
Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)
Ave Maria [2:13]
Giles Swayne (b.1946)
Magnificat
1 [3:54]

Jean Mouton (1459-1522)
Nesciens Mater virgo virum - motet: 8vv [5:43] 
Traditional
Ther is no rose of swych vertu [4:56]

Herbert Howells (1892-1983)
A Spotless Rose [3:37]
Thomas Adès (b.1971)
The Fayrax Carol [4:24]

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c.1525–c.1594)
Stabat Mater
(8vv) (transcribed & edited by Jon Dixon) [10:52]

James MacMillan (b.1959)
Seinte Mari moder milde [7:05]   

Edvard Grieg (1843-1907)
Ave Maris Stella (Vesper Hymn c.9th century) (edited by John Rutter) [3:23]
Arnold Bax (1883-1953)
Mater ora filium [12:07]

Henryk GÓrecki (b.1933)
Totus Tuus, Op.60 [11:36]

Gabrieli Consort/Paul McCreesh
rec. Lady Chapel, Ely Cathedral, UK, 19-21 July 2007 DDD
Booklet with texts and translations
DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4777635 [80:58]

 

Experience Classicsonline


I normally try to avoid seeing what anyone else has written before I make up my mind about a recording. However, in this case, I can’t be unaware of the acclaim which this disc has already received as a successful follow-up to the same performers’ Road to Paradise (4776605) which Dominy Clements made Recording of the Month in July, 2007 – see review.  That earlier CD was linked by the theme of the pilgrimage from life to death and resurrection. The theme of this new recording is praise of the Virgin Mary, the Spotless Rose of the title and of the Herbert Howells piece which forms its centre-point.
 

At first sight, the programme looks like something of a mish-mash, with early and mature polyphony interspersed among music by twentieth-century and contemporary composers, but it works surprisingly well – very well, indeed.  Most of the music is quietly contemplative – indeed, I might have welcomed one or two other pieces like Giles Swayne’s Magnificat (tr.4) or the outbursts in Macmillan’s Seinte Mari (tr.10) – and much of it might well be described as timeless. 

The Stravinsky Ave Maria, in particular, seems almost to have been composed out of time.  No-one could ever quite mistake his Dumbarton Oaks Concerto for music from the period of the Brandenburgs which inspired it, but one might almost mistake this Ave Maria for something by a 16th-century composer. 

The opening Tavener Hymn to the Mother of God, too, though unmistakably a product of our own times, is demonstrably part of a tradition which dates back to his own distant ancestor with a further -r- in his name and beyond. The traditional setting of the fifteenth-century carol Ther is no rose (tr.6) and the following Howells’ setting of an English translation of Es ist ein’Ros entsprugen (tr.7) fit as well together as they would (and do) in the Christmas Eve Service of Lessons and Carols from King’s.  Adès’s setting of The Fayrfax Carol which follows (tr.8), fits well into the King’s Christmas Eve Service, too. 

Part of the reason for the timeless quality of the music is the fact that the more recent composers are setting texts of some antiquity, Ave Maria and the Magnificat dating back to Luke’s gospel, while most of the other texts in English or Latin date back to the Middle Ages.  Seinte Mari, Moder milde, which Macmillan sets (track 10), is one of the earliest Middle English lyrics.  This setting of a text from a 13th-century manuscript, where it is attributed to St Godric, was composed for the Nine Lessons and Carols – it’s probably the most angular music ever performed there or on this CD, but it fits in very well for all that.  Having recently been impressed by hearing his St John Passion (LSO Live 0671 – look out for a review in my April, 2009, Download Roundup) I’m beginning to warm to Macmillan’s music. Though I’m not normally unduly sympathetic to contemporary composers, Seinte Mari is little more avant garde than Bax’s Mater ora filium two tracks later. 

Adès’ Fayrfax Carol and Macmillan’s Seinte Mari have been recorded by Stephen Cleobury with King’s Choir (On Christmas Day: New Music from King’s, an inexpensive EMI 2-CD set, 5 58070 2). The Macmillan appears on an excellent Hyperion CD featuring his Mass (CDA67219 – see review) and the Adès on another King’s collection (EMI 2-for-1 5736932 – see review) but I can’t imagine either being better performed than here. 

The programme ends with an excellent performance of the Górecki Totus tuus (tr.13). It’s another timeless piece which brings us back to the mood of the opening Tavener, music which you hope will never end. It’s been recorded several times but never better than here.  The recording, excellent throughout, assisted by the acoustic of the Lady Chapel of Ely Cathedral, simply lets it fade away into near-inaudibility. 

The notes in the booklet are excellent – they’re so detailed that they’ve had to be printed on India paper to avoid making them too bulky to fit into the case. 

I’ve been so impressed by this new recording that it has reminded me to buy the earlier Road to Paradise, as I’ve been meaning to do for some time.  I think you’ll want both.  The Howells setting also appears at the heart of another recording to which it gives the title, on Chandos CHSA5066. This time all the music is late 20th-century or contemporary.  I’ll try to include this recording, too, in a future Download Roundup. 

There’s one work which I think should have been included on the earlier Road to Paradise, Sir George Dyson’s Hierusalem, another setting by a 20th-century composer of an earlier, 16th-century, text: ‘Hierusalem, my happy home’.  You can remedy the loss inexpensively with a highly-recommendable budget-price CD of Dyson’s music (Hyperion Helios CDH55046, St Michael’s Singers/Jonathan Rennert), on which Hierusalem forms the concluding work.

Brian Wilson



 


 


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
 


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.