Richard DERING (c.1580-1630)
18 Motets from Cantica Sacra (1618):-
Jubilate Deo universa terra [2:22]
Sancta et immaculata virginitas [2:34]
Vulnerasti cor meum [3:15]
Hei mihi! Domine [3:52]
Surge amica mea [3:25]
O Crux ave [3:26]
Te laudamus ... O Beata Trinitas* [3:34]
Jesu decus angelicum [3:48]
Quem vidistis, pastores? [2:12]
Panis angelicus [3:02]
Quam pulchra es amica mea [3:14]
O vos omnes [4:15]
Quæ est ista, quæ ascendit [2:44]
Adjuro vos filiæ [2:51]
Ardens est cor meum [3:17]
Paratum cor meum [3:34]
Cantate Domino [2:42]
Factum est silentium [2:51]
The Choir of Clare College Chapel, Cambridge/Timothy Brown
Organ scholar: Peter Clements. Chitarrone: Martin Pope*
rec. date not stated (c.1994?). Assumed DDD. Texts not included.
REGIS RRC1355 [57:06]
This recording first appeared on a Gamut CD in 1995 (GAMCD538) and is now licensed to Regis from Treasure Island Music. Its reappearance at super-budget price is very welcome, not merely because there are so few recordings of Dering’s music - none completely devoted to him in the current catalogue - but also because the performances and recording present it in a very good light.
Dering was an English composer who converted while in Rome. Unlike many of his contemporaries such as Peter Philips, he was able to return to England as composer for the private Roman Catholic chapel of the Queen, Henrietta Maria. All of the music here was composed for the Roman rite in the six-part Cantica Sacra, though most of it could also have been sung in Anglican services as the Anthem at Mattins or Evensong. He also composed music to English texts: perhaps someone like Gimell or Hyperion will oblige us with a recording some time soon?
There used to be an EMI recording of music by Philips and Dering (King’s/Cleobury, 5667882) which is worth looking for as a remainder and in second-hand shops, though it mostly duplicates the contents of the Regis CD.
With so little of the repertoire available in other recordings, there is less point than usual in comparison, though you may wish to note that Dering’s Factum est silentium (tr.18) is incthe opening track on a Westminster Abbey recording of music for the Feast of St Michæl (Hyperion CDA67643 - see review). The Westminster choristers sing it at a slightly slower pace (3:11 against 2:51), which adds to the solemnity of the piece - it begins, after all, in silence. Both are excellently sung, but I think Timothy Brown’s chosen tempo makes for a more dramatic rendition of what soon develops into a dramatic text about the war in heaven. (See below). John Rutter’s Cambridge Singers split the difference, at 3:00, on Hail Gladdening Light (Collegium COLCD113), while Christ Church, Oxford, are a trifle faster than any on Nimbus NI5328 - Taverner to Tavener - another fine performance which forms part of a survey of five centuries of music at The House. Both the Collegium and Nimbus recordings are available via the Naxos Music Library. Whatever the virtues of these other performances, this track from Clare rounds off a very satisfying CD.
Dering’s Ardens est cor meum (tr.15) features on an enterprising Signum CD from the King’s Singers, 1605 - Treason and Dischord (SIGCD061 - see review), a rather more impassioned performance than that on the Regis CD, and with beautifully clear diction from the King’s Singers. Subscribers to the Naxos Music Library can hear the whole of the Signum recording; others can stream it from We7. Clarity is, of course, easier with smaller forces, not that there is anything amiss with the Clare diction - it’s clear enough to enable me to identify the texts, which Regis don’t provide (see below).
Clare, again under the direction of Timothy Brown, have another recording of Jesu decus angelicum (tr.8) on a mixed programme on the Heritage label (HTGCD212). The performance sounds so similar - a trifle more closely recorded, perhaps, but that may be because I listened to it via the Naxos Music Library - that I wonder if it comes from the same recording.
I recommend the Clare performances on the Regis reissue, not just for their clarity of diction, but also for Timothy Brown’s clear sympathy and identification with the music and the extent to which he has clearly conveyed that to his choir. The organ accompaniment (chitarrone on track 7) is suitably unobtrusive. Clare may not be the best known of the collegiate choirs but their performances here have nothing to fear from the likes of King’s, Christ Church or New College. For once, you can believe the blurb on the back cover, derived from the three-star recommendation in an earlier version of the Penguin Guide.
The recording, too, is very good, placing the choir at just the right distance. The Regis notes are sparse: ten lines only about Dering - there’s almost as much about the chitarrones, used to accompany track 7, and much more about the Clare College Choir and Timothy Brown. You’ll find more on Dering on the notes for 1605 on the Signum website, where he’s only one of a number of composers.
I grow tired of berating record companies for inadequate notes and for not providing texts and translations, but I must mention their absence yet again. Super-budget recordings are most likely to be purchased by those with least knowledge of the music, though the present CD must be an exception because there is no alternative recording. Even Cambridge choristers and music students are unlikely to be familiar with the Latin liturgy or, if presented with it, to understand it, so much has classical learning diminished in our times, alas, so I shall try to remedy the defect.
Even when they don’t print the texts, Naxos, retailing at around the same price as Regis, offer an online version. I’ve included all the texts and rough, mostly literal, translations below. If Regis would like me to tidy these up gratis, for them to print, or at least to offer online, I’d be happy to oblige.
Despite my gripes about the brief notes and lack of texts, I still recommend this Regis reissue strongly: the gap which it plugs is so wide and important, and the performances and recording so good, that it would be churlish not to do so. Had the ship not been spoiled for that ha’porth of tar, I would have been tempted to make this a Bargain of the Month.
Plugs an important gap at a modest price.
Jubilate Deo (track 1) sets the words of Psalm 100, ‘O be joyful in the Lord, all ye lands’, Paratum cor meum is the opening of Psalm 108, ‘O God, my heart is ready: I will sing and give praise with the best member that I have’ and Cantate Domino (track 17) comes from Psalm 68, ‘Sing unto the Lord a new song.’
Sancta et immaculata virginitas (tr.2) praises the Blessed Virgin Mary:
Sancta et immaculata virginitas/ Quibus te laudibus efferam nescio/ Quia quem cœli capere non poterant/ Tuo gremio contulisti/ Genuisti qui te fecit/ Et in æternum permanes virgo.
Holy and spotless virginity, I know not what praises to bring to thee, for Him whom the Heavens could not contain thou didst bear in thy womb. Thou didst conceive Him who made thee, yet thou remainest for ever a virgin.
Vulnerasti cor meum (tr.3), Surge amica mea (tr.5), Quam pulchra es (tr.11), Quæ est ista? (tr.13) and Adjuro vos (tr.14) come from the Song of Songs, a work associated in the Latin rite with the Virgin Mary.
Vulnerasti cor meum, soror mea, sponsa; vulnerasti cor meum in uno oculorum tuorum, et in uno crine colli tui. Quam pulchræ sunt mammæ tuæ, soror mea sponsa. Pulchriora sunt ubera tua vino, et odor unguentorum tuorum super omnia aromata.
Thou hast wounded my heart, my sister, my bride; thou hast wounded my heart with one of thy eyes and with one of the hairs of thy neck, my sister, my bride. How beautiful are thy breasts, more beautiful than wine and the fragrance of thy ointments is greater than all other aromas.
Surge, amica mea, speciosa mea, et veni. Columba mea, in foraminibus petræ,
in caverna maceriæ, ostende mihi faciem tuam; sonet vox tua in auribus meis: vox enim tua dulcis, et facies tua decora.
Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one, and come. My dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the cave within the cliff, show me thy face; let thy voice sound in my ears: for sweet is thy voice, and thy face is comely.
Quam pulchra es, et quam decora, charissima, in deliciis! Statura tua assimilata est palmæ,
et ubera tua botris. Dixi: Ascendam in palmam, et apprehendam fructus eius; et erunt ubera tua sicut botri vineæ; et odor oris tui sicut malorum.
How beautiful thou art, and how comely, my dearest, in delights! Thy stature is like a palm tree and thy breasts like clusters of fruit. I said: I will go up into the palm tree and I will take hold of the fruit of it. And thy breasts also shall be as the clusters of the vine; and the odour of thy mouth like that of apples.
Quæ est ista quæ progreditur quasi aurora consurgens, pulchra ut luna, electa ut sol,
terribilis ut castrorum acies ordinate?
Who is she who cometh forth like the rising dawn, as beautiful as the moon and bright as the sun, terrible as an army drawn up in full array?
Adiuro vos, filiæ Hierusalem, si inveneritis dilectum meum, et nuntietis et quia amore langueo. Qualis est dilectus tuus ex dilecto, O pulcherrima mulierum? Qualis est dilectus tuus ex dilecto, quia sic adiurasti nos? Dilectus meus candidus et rubicundus, electus ex millibus.
I charge you, daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my beloved, that you tell him I languish with love. What is thy beloved more than another, O thou most beautiful of women?
What is thy loved one above another, that you so charge us? My beloved is white and ruddy,
one chosen from thousands
Track 4: Hei mihi, Domine, quia peccavi nimis in vita mea. Quid faciam miser? Ubi fugiam? Nisi ad te, Deus meus. Miserere mei dum veneris in novissimo die.
Woe is me, O Lord, for I have sinned greatly in my life. What shall I do, wretch that I am? Whither shall I flee? Only to thee, my God. Have mercy upon me when thou comest at the Last Day.
Track 6: O Crux ave, spes unica, hoc Passionis tempore! piis adauge gratiam, reisque dele crimina.
Hail, O cross, our only hope at this time of the Passion. Give grace to the guiltless and pardon the sins of the guilty. (Holy Week motet)
Track 7: [Te invocamus], te laudamus, te adoramus, O beata Trinitas.
[We call upon thee], we praise thee, we worship thee, O blessed Trinity. (Antiphon, Psalm 46 (47) or Psalm 28 (29) in earlier monastic uses, Matins of Trinity Sunday.)
Track 8: Jesu, decus angelicum,/ in aure dulce canticum,/ in ore mel mirificum,/ in corde nectar cælicum.
O Jesus, Thou the beauty art / of Angel worlds above!/ Thy name is music to the heart,/ enchanting it with love! (Hymn at Lauds on the Feast of the Holy Name).
Track 9: Quem vidistis pastores? Dicite: annunciate nobis in terra quis apparuit ? Christum salavatorem de Virgine natum vidimus et choros angelorum collaudantes Domino: Mariam et Joseph vidimus in terra stratos supplices et natum carum pariter adorantes humilites. Gratia Deo qui dedit nobis victoriam per Jesum Christum Salvatorem nostrum. O magnum mysterium et admirabile sacramentum ut animalia viderent Dominum natum iacentem in præsepio. Alleluia
Whom did you see, O shepherds? Speak and tell us; who has appeared on earth? We saw Christ the saviour, born of the Virgin and a choir of angels praising God together: we saw Mary and Joseph as we lay stretched upon the ground and humbly worshipped the dear babe. Thanks be to God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. O what a great mystery and wonderful sign that the animals should see the Lord, new-born and lying in the crib. Alleluia. (Christmas motet).
Track 10: Panis angelicus, fit panis hominum; Dat panis cœlicus figuris terminum; O res mirabilis; manducat Dominum Pauper servus et humilis.
The bread of angels becomes the bread of men; this heavenly bread brings an end to metaphors; O what a wonderful thing that the poor and humble slave should eat the Lord.
Track 12: O vos omnes qui transitis per viam, attendite et videte si est dolor similis sicut dolor meus.
O all you who pass by the way, linger and see if there be any sorrow like my sorrow. (From the Improperia or Reproaches in the Good Friday liturgy).
Track 15: Ardens est cor meum; desidero videre Dominum. Quæro et non invenio ubi posuerunt eum. Si tu sustulisti eum, dicito mihi, et ego eum tollam, alleluia.
My heart is burning, I desire to see my Lord. I seek and cannot find where they have placed him. If thou hast carried him off, tell me, and I will carry him. Alleluia.
Track 18: Factum est silentium in cælo dum committeret bellum draco cum Michæle Archangelo. Audita est vox milia milium, dicentium: Salus, honor et virtus omnipotenti Deo. Alleluia.
There was silence in heaven when the dragon joined in battle with the Archangel Michæl.
A voice was heard of thousands of thousands, saying: Salvation, honour and power be to almighty God. Alleluia.