The music of the sixteenth-century composer Palestrina is still today at the heart of many of the Roman Catholic services sung all around the world. The congregation at Westminster Cathedral is particularly fortunate to hear on a regular basis this inspirational music sung by one of the finest choirs in the world, and this album focuses on music for Whitsuntide.
Following the appearance of the first CD recording of the new organ in the reconstructed Dresden Frauenkirche (with organist Samuel Kummer, Carus 83.188) at last, the first live concert performance has just been released on the Carus label. The G minor Mass is the “Opus ultimum” of the 84-year-old Johann Adolf Hasse, who for almost three decades dominated musical life at the Saxon Court of Dresden and who was regarded as the musical idol of his era. The centerpiece of the work of a type known as a “Missa solemnis” is a seven-movement Gloria, with brilliant, extended trumpet parts. The G minor Mass is an attractive work which shines as a result of ist beautiful sound, depth of expression and the richness of its harmonic ideas. It is conducted by Ludwig Güttler, who devoted his energies towards the reconstruction of the Dresdner Frauenkirche.
This superb disc of music by one of Spain's most talented early 16th century composers is exactly the sort of boost that the less well-known repertoire needs in its search for a place in today's CD collection. It is in every way a model of what a recording of Renaissance polyphony ought to be… The all male vocal ensemble sings with enormous conviction as well as firm control of rhythm and phrasing. Combining the voices with energetically played sackbuts produces a rich and dark-hued sound that feels authentically Spanish, and does full justice to this very fine music.
Tomás Luis de Victoria was the greatest composer of the Spanish sixteenth-century ‘golden age’ of polyphonic music. This recording is of the six-voice Missa Dum complerentur, the five-part motet on which the Mass is based, and six further hymns and sequences including the great Popule meus, a setting of the Improperia (Reproaches) which form the heart of the liturgy for Good Friday. This is music of compelling beauty, which illustrates well Victoria’s extraordinary capacity to create through simple homophony extremely moving music of great expressiveness.
Chant for the First Mass of Christmas according to the Salisbury Rite. It would have been celebrated after midnight on Christmas Eve, and was known as the Missa in gallicantu - the Mass at Cockcrow. The chant has been taken from printed sources which would have been in use when composers such as Tallis and Tye were at the height of their powers…
"As our awards enter their fourth decade, we've paused and looked back over the first 30 years. It's gratifying to see how many of the recordings singled out for the prestigious Record of the Year have gone on to become classics of the catalogue. (…) Then there are the discs that shaped careers - violinists Nigel Kennedy (in Elgar) and Maxim Vengerov (in Prokofiev and Shostakovich) - to which you might add The Tallis Scholars' stunning disc of Masses by Josquin Desprez, a disc that elevated Early Music to the "mainstream". ~Grammophone