One of the most grown-up review sites around

51,800 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

Yes we are selling
Acte Prealable again!
£11 post-free

we also sell Skarbo

and Oboe Classics


with Eggebrecht we get all the excitement we can handle

Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation

Vraiment magnifique!

Quite splendid

Winning performances

Mahler Symphony 8
a magnificent disc

a huge talent

A wonderful disc

Weinberg Symphonies 2 & 21
A handsome tribute!

Roth’s finest Mahler yet

Mahler 9 Blomstedt
Distinguished performance


REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this 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

Stile Antico has no sooner celebrated its tenth anniversary – see the celebratory disc that charts its course over those two decades – than it releases a Renaissance Christmas disc. The spine of this release is Clemens non Papa’s Missa Pastores quidnam vidistis, which has been programmed to run interweaving between pieces by Johannes Eccard, Jacob Handl, Hans Hassler and Praetorius (Michael and Hieronymous – no relation).

Thus the decision has been made to place a Flemish masterpiece amongst the carols and motets of German contemporaries, but to do so in such a way that juxtaposition is the result, and not the block of the Mass surrounded by the briefer carols. If this conception causes the mass to become somewhat fragmented for conventional listening, it is nevertheless apt for Christmas celebration.

Clemens’ Mass is based on the motet of the same name which is heard after the shapely and fulsome Michael Praetorius Ein Kind geborn in Bethlehem. The Motet has a movingly expressive quality whilst the Mass marries tonal breadth to technical assurance in a performance of the utmost devotion. Both in amplitude and speed the performance stands at a very different remove from, say, that of the Tallis Scholars, where we find a steelier, colder blend and a much brisker tempo. Stile Antico is a good four minutes slower but the vocal aesthetic is also very different.

The two motets by Jacob Handl offer rewarding listening, not least because they are so different and so contrastive. Canite tuba is quite free and festive in expression but Mirabile mysterium is remarkable for its chromaticism and gut-wrenching harmonies – moving from even his own motet to this, let alone from Clemens or Eccard, is to hear the cutting edge of sixteenth-century music. Quite what his contemporaries made of it, let alone an audience, one can but wonder. It’s Gesualdo-like in its strangeness.

Hieronymus Praetorius’ extensive, polychoral Magnificat with its antiphonal opportunities is enlivened by some perceptive word-painting and is memorably performed, as is everything in this desirable seasonal offering. Try Hans Leo Hassler’s Hodie Christus natus est, for example, with its vibrant and affirmative hallelujahs or Eccard’s simpler and briefer, but no less generous Übers Gerbirg Maria geht.

With a well-judged, sympathetic SACD church recording and a fine booklet this can be added to the long list of recommendable offerings from Stile Antico.

Jonathan Woolf



We are currently offering in excess of 51,800 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

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: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger