Who would ever have thought that Benedictine plainsong would ever cross over into the mainstream? Well, in some ways it is hardly surprising that it did. Anyone who has ever wandered around some of the great monasteries of Europe will have listened in awe to the chant of the monks at various prayer times. Simplistic beauty is the only way to describe it. The sound of male voices echoing through the cavernous halls of a Gothic monmastery church brings with it a quality which it would be impossible and unwise to recreate in the studio. This tuly is music which, if taken out of the architectural context for which it ewas intended, ceases to have the effect that was intended.
Had Pergolesi not died young, his name would rank among the most stellar and influential of Italy’s 18th-century composers. Despite the brevity of his life – he died at 26 – Pergolesi created numerous deathless works
In this second album of Claudio Abbado’s Pergolesi Project, the renowned maestro conducts the Missa S. Emidio, Manca la guida al pie, Laudate pueri Dominum, and the Salve Regina in F minor. Abbado’s passion for this music meets these sacred compositions on the exalted level where they were composed… (The Times)
Giovanni Battista Pergolesi had a tragically short career, living just 26 years, and producing most of his mature works over a period of about five years. This album includes three of the composer's most representative pieces. The most familiar is the 40-minute Stabat mater for soprano, alto, and orchestra, which was the most frequently published composition of the 18th century. This version, featuring soprano Rachel Harnisch and contralto Sara Mingardo, makes a splendid introduction to the work and should be of interest to anyone who loves this poignant music. …
by Stephen Eddins
Claudio Monteverdi and Girolamo Frescobaldi were two of the most influential musical figures in 17th-century Italy; while the former's boundary-pushing madrigals, operas and sacred works changed the course of Baroque vocal music irrevocably, the latter was one of the first – and most prominent – composers to devote serious attention to composing for the keyboard.
This recording from The Choir of Westminster Cathedral also features two of its admired former organists and the English Chamber Orchestra Brass Ensemble, all illuminating joyful paeans of praise by the profoundly religious organist and composer Jean Langlais.
…The orchestra, led by violinist Michi Gaigg, is a delight to hear, a finely tuned and ideally balanced ensemble whose playing gives real drive and support to the singers–and, in these world premiere recordings, makes a strong case for hearing a lot more from J.C. The sound is exemplary.
This is luxury casting for Pergolesi’s oft-recorded Stabat Mater, but with very mixed results. The text may speak of the grief of Jesus’ mother standing at the foot of the cross, but there is undeniably an element of comic opera in Pergolesi’s uninhibitedly tuneful setting.
Giacomo Puccini's Messa or Messa a quattro voci (currently more widely known under the apocryphal name of Messa di Gloria) is a Mass composed for orchestra and four-part choir with tenor, bass and baritone soloists. Strictly speaking, the piece is a full Mass, not a true Messa di Gloria (which contains only the Kyrie and Gloria and omits the Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei)……..
Following the success of the Westminster Cathedral Lay Clerks in their sumptuous men-only recording of Victoria’s Missa Gaudeamus, the choir returns to full ranks for a further issue in their survey of the Masses of this undisputed Master of the Renaissance. This new recording opens with Victoria’s five-part setting of the Marian antiphon Salve regina, followed by two of the composer’s Masses: Missa De Beata Maria Virgine and Missa Surge propera, which is preceded by its Palestrina model.