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

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger              Founding Editor: Rob Barnett              Contact Seen and Heard here

Some items
to consider

  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
  • Mozart Flute Quartets
  • Schubert complete piano works
  • Sammartini: 6 Concerti grossi
  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
 
Tudor



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.

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this disc from

A Wondrous Mystery – Renaissance Choral Music for Christmas
Michael PRAETORIUS (c.1571-1621)
Ein Kind geborn in Bethlehem [3:27]
Michael PRAETORIUS (c.1571-1621) – Melchior VULPIUS (c.1570-1615)
Es ist ein Ros entrprungen [2:58]
Jacob HANDL (1550-1591)
Canite tuba [2:11]
Mirabile mysterium [4:07]
Jacobus CLEMENS NON PAPA (c.1510-c.1555)
Motet: Pastores quidnam vidistis [5:02]
Missa: Pastores quidnam vidistis [35:30]
Hieronymus PRAETORIUS (1560-1629)
Magnificat quinti toni [11:26]
Johannes ECCARD (1553-1611)
Übers Gerbirg Maria geht [2:56]
Vom Himmel hoch [2:01]
Hans Leo HASSLER (1564-1612)
Hodie Christus natus est [3:15]
Stile Antico
rec. February 2015, All Hallows’ Church, Gospel Oak, London
Texts and translations included
HARMONIA MUNDI SACD HMU807575 [72:57]

Stile Antico’s new Christmas disc uses as its backbone a technique they have tried before: namely, to use one major work and to intersperse other motets between its movements. In this case, it’s Clemens non Papa’s Missa Pastores quidnam vidistis. The motet on which the mass is based has a text centring on the experience of the Bethlehem shepherds. Sung here, it sounds fresh and light and full of space, and it's very clear when the text turns from the question to the answer, a tribute to how naturally communicative this choir is. As for the mass, the Kyrie moves with thoughtful steadiness, the Gloria is busy and, for me, the Credo is particularly beautiful, as if caught up in the mystery it is describing. The Sanctus and Benedictus both begin this way, but then break off into beautifully judged parallel lines that resemble the pealing of bells. The Agnus Dei, full of crystalline beauty and its fair share of Latin mystery, is a beautiful way to end the disc.

Elsewhere, there is a nicely chosen set of motets between the mass movements. Michael Praetorius’ Ein kind geborn in Bethlehem has ethereal clarity combined with the sense of the dance that was so closely associated with early carols. It’s a delightful combination of the spiritual and the earthily human which gathers in joy as it progresses. Es ist ein Ros begins with the simple stanza we all recognise before pealing off into Melchior Vulpius’ beautifully styled canon on the same text, which is so immediate as to sound almost like a madrigal. Jacob Handl’s Canite Tuba, for male voices only, has an appealing directness to it, while his Mirabile Mysterium rings with chromatic weirdness that you just don't associate with music of this period. It's uncanny, but strangely beautiful.

Hieronymus (no relation to Michael) Praetorius’ 8-part Magnificat sounds both spectacular and intimate, and it features two interpolated carols, most notably the famous In dulci jubilo. The top soprano line is particularly clean and appealing here, while Eccard’s Übers Gerbirg Maria geht has a folksy warmth to it that is very appealing, as is his direct, unfussy setting of Von Himmel Hoch. There is also a lovely clarity to Hassler’s Hodie Christus natus est.

In sum, every bit as excellent as we have come to expect from Stile Antico, and a good companion piece to their earlier Christmas disc, Puer natus est.

Simon Thompson

Previous review: Jonathan Woolf




 




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