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Download: Classicsonline

Cristóbal DE MORALES (c.1500-c.1553)
Missa 'Mille Regretz' [31:21] *
Emendemus In Melius [6:10]
Gregorian Chant
In Medio Ecclesiae Aperuit Os Eius [3:13]
Dominus Vobiscum… Ut Nobis, Domine [1:06] ***
Dominus Vobiscum… Deus, Qui Populo Tuo [1:09] ***
Dominus vobiscum… Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Matthaeum [2:00] *, *****
Per Omnia Saecula Saeculorum… Pater Noster [2:14] *, ***
Fidelis Servus Et Prudens [1:07] *
Ite, Misaa Est… Do Gratias [00:51] *
Francisco GUERRERO (1528-1599)
untitled Cançion (à 6) [02:44]
Cançión 'Subiendo Amor' [1:08]
Cançión 'Todos Aman' [1:16]
Motectum, 'O Doctor Optime' [3:40]
Per Omnia Saeculorum...Vere Dignum Et Iustum Est [3:10]
Philippe ROGIER (1561-1599)
Cançion 'Ecce Sacerdos Magnus' (à 5) [2:07]
untitled Cançion (à 6) [1:49]
untitled Cançion (à 6) [1:50]
Antonio DE CABEZÓN (1510-1566)
Tiento Del Quinto Tono (Extract) [1:15] **
Tiento Del Quarto Tono (Extract) [1:29] **
Epistola: Lectio Epistola Beati Pauli Apostoli Ad Timotheum [1:55] ****
Tiento Del Octavo Tono [1:04] **
Nicolas GOMBERT (c.1495-1560)
Mille Regretz [2:48]
Del Modo De Taner A Corcheas [0:51] **
William Lyons (bass dulcian)*; Timothy Roberts (organ) **; Simon Grant (bass) ***; Charles Pott (baritone) ****; Julian Clarkson (bass)*****; Gabrieli Consort and Players; Paul McCreesh
rec. June-October 1995

Experience Classicsonline

This budget-price CD is a reissue from 15 years ago which attempts to set the beautiful mass, 'Mille Regretz' by Cristóbal de Morales (c.1500-c.1553) in the context of a celebration in Toledo cathedral towards the end of the sixteenth century. A likely such occasion was during Lent, when the sentiment of the Parody Mass based on Josquin's mournful secular chanson, Mille Regretz, would have been particularly appropriate.
Since we know that the mass on this type of occasion was rarely played without the interleaving of other music, that is what McCreesh has chosen to do. As well as half a dozen or so plainchant items, there are works by contemporaries Guerrero, Rogier, De Cabezón, Gombert and Dos Santos. Although those attending such a service would have been lucky to have had quite such a feast!
During his lifetime, Morales received more praise for his composition (and his voice) than any other musician in Spain. Particular amongst his strengths was the attention he paid to the text. Certain of his innovations were equally important too: his treatment of the Gospel motet exceeded in quality that of any others thus far written. Indeed, Morales' influence on Palestrina is now being realised and acknowledged as significant. Lastly, like all great composers, Morales was able to produce in his Missa 'Mille Regretz' music of enduring value and beauty beyond the circumstances under which it was originally written: probably in response to the fondness for the chanson of Emperor Charles V. So it's fitting that this CD should place him at the centre of such a varied tapestry.
McCreesh uses his Gabrieli Consort and Players in those places where the musicological evidence supports instrumental accompaniment: during the polyphony. But only at the moments when the cantors enter and exit, and at the Gradual and Elevation in Lent. It was otherwise not used. The instruments on this recording are those of the wind family typical of a Spanish cathedral band of the time … cornetts, crumhorns, dulcians, recorders, sackbuts and shawms.
They make a splendid sound on this warm and welcome CD. The music flows and seems in places as though liquid, pure - and pure liquid… in the Agnus Dei from the Mass itself [tr.21] for example. Always in complete control, the voices, players, solo and ensemble perform with great authority and command, though never a hint of stridency or over-insistence. The pace and delivery combine dignity with involvement and display a certain appropriate joy - in the cançiones of Rogier [e.g. tr.25], for example.
For some, the fact that this is a mélange, rather than a homogeneous selection of one or two composers' works, may be something of a disincentive. There are two other 'straight' performances of his 'Mille Regretz' Mass in the catalogue… by Chanticleer on their own label (8809) and The Hilliard Ensemble (Almaviva 101). Of the other pieces almost nothing is to be found in the current catalogue. So this is a CD to buy for the selection if nothing else. But the Morales Mass itself is a gem. To get a sense for how contemporaries might have known it is a real plus. The singing, performing and conception are everything we expect from these forces. The acoustic and accompanying notes are well up to standard.
Mark Sealey


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