Holy Saturday, two o'clock in the morning. In churches and chapels throughout Christendom, the Passion of Christ is commemorated at the Offices of Matins and Lauds. As this long and fatiguing liturgy advances, the candles are progressively extinguished, until total darkness reigns after the Miserere… This dramatic tableau is that of the Office of Tenebrae, a ceremonial unchanged since the Middle Ages which inspired some of the most moving pieces in the whole sacred repertory, notably settings of the Lamentations of Jeremiah - which under the name of 'Leçons de ténèbres' were to become a major genre of French Baroque music. In the sixteenth century, at the Sistine Chapel in Rome, the service was sung to the Lamentations of Cristóbal de Morales (1500-53), the 'light of Spain' who himself became a singer in this illustrious establishment. It is this magnificent, uniquely compelling music that Doulce Mémoire use as the basis for a new liturgical reconstruction, following on from their Requiem pour les Rois de France . As Denis Raisin-Dadre says: This music speaks to us of time, of time that is immobile, contemplative, extraordinarily concentrated… We have striven to recapture the emotion it engendered, its spirituality, through a search for absolute sincerity.
Celestial music and a celestial performance: Paul McCreesh's ingenious construction of a Mass for the Feast of St. Iisidore of Seville, as it might have been celebrated in Toledo Cathedral around 1590, deserves to be called a resplendent sonic and spiritual feast...
It must have been difficult to find a suitable programme to follow the Gabrieli Consort’s triumphant recording of Victoria’s Requiem (Archiv, 12/95), but with this disc of Morales’s Missa Mille regretz this has certainly been achieved, and with a logical connection to the previous release.
Jordi Savall has brought us yet another treasure on his own Alia Vox label, this time a mixed bag of music by Reformation Era composers and a handful of slightly earlier works. It’s all taken from a concert program Savall gave last year under the aegis of “greatest hits of the court of Charles V”. The composers presented are mostly court musicians for that Holy Roman Emperor, but Josquin and Heinrich Isaac also are included, the latter as a nod to Charles’ grandfather, Maximilian I, who was responsible for getting Charles the crown. Savall combines his first-rate instrumental ensemble, updated to Hespèrion XXI, with his own vocal group, La Capella Reial de Catalunya. The results are captivating. Savall’s musicians are tops in the field, and their collective talents, constantly on display in this varied program, are simply a joy to hear.
The award-winning, highly-acclaimed English choral ensemble Stile Antico presents Passion and Resurrection, an album featuring texts inspired by the dramatic events of Holy Week and Easter set to music by some of the greatest Renaissance composers from England and the Continent. Included are two settings of the poem Woefully arrayed - the first by William Cornysh (1465-1523) and the second composed especially for Stile Antico in 2009 by contemporary composer John McCabe. This is the work's first recording.
In 2011 DG released a spectacular 10-CD anthology on Archiv Produktion with Ensemble Plus Ultra (EPU), “the finest British early music singers” (Early Music Today), commemorating the 400th anniversary of Tomas de Victoria’s death. This box sold about 6.100 units worldwide and won a Gramophone award. Now the award winning ensemble is back with a major recording project to mark the 400th anniversary of the death of El Greco in 2014 – composers including Cristobal de Morales, Alonso Lobo and Alonso de Tejeda were prolific in Toledo during the 37 years El Greco lived and worked there, and much of this music certainly inspired his painting.
HI fellows! Following the idea of the Spanish National Orchestra which invited to the Spanish composer Cristobal Halffter to program his music, some moths ago, I bring you here his Piano Concerto, conducted by the own composer and his wife playing. Enjoy!