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Passion & Resurrection
Music inspired by Holy Week
Texts inspired by the dramatic events of Holy Week and Easter, set to music by some of the greatest Renaissance composers are the basis of this new hybrid SACD from Stile Antico. Included are two settings of the poem 'Woefully arrayed': the first by William Cornysh, the second composed for Stile Antico in 2009 by John McCabe (b. 1939). This is its first recording and Stile's first foray into contemporary music.
Stile Antico is the benchmark ensemble of young British singers, working without a director and conducting much of their own artistic research for their programmes and concise, yet entertaining booklet notes. Much in demand in concert, the group performs regularly throughout Europe and North America. Their recordings on harmonia mundi have enjoyed great success, winning awards, including the 2009 Early Music Gramophone Award for Song of Songs.
Their performances have repeatedly been praised for their vitality and commitment, expressive lucidity and imaginative response to text. Stile Antico’s recent engagements include débuts at the BBC Proms, London’s Wigmore and Cadogan Halls, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, early music festivals in Boston, Bruges, Barcelona and Utrecht, and at the Cervantino Festival in Mexico. The group has toured extensively with Sting, appearing across Europe, Australia and the Far East as part of his Dowland project 'Songs from the Labyrinth', and is regularly invited to lead courses at Dartington International Summer School.
“The performances are second to none, rivetingly presented with all the skill of master musicians who have been doing this for years—the miracle is that they are all young, and yet still are able to penetrate the essence of these wonderful works. Need I say more?” Audiophile Audition, 31st October 2012 *****
“The run-up to Christmas seems hardly the most propitious time to release an Easter-themed anthology of choral music, but regardless, Passion & Resurrection is to be welcomed both for its skilled execution, and for clever programming” The Independent, 3rd November 2012 ****
“Beautifully presented as always...Is the perfectly blended Stile Antico sound too uniform for all this varied music? The clarity of Taverner's Dum transisset is lovely, but Tomás Luis de Victoria's O vos omnes lacks some Spanish passion.” The Observer, 4th November 2012
“The McCabe piece...is beautifully tailored to the 12 voices of the choir. Although fiendishly difficult to perform, they manage it with superb poise and great dynamic sensitivity and projection. Clearly this is a group that can sing in tune, mantain its balance and enunciate words clearly.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2012 ****
“Stile Antico are probably at their best when the music invites them to sing out. The preference for a choral over a chamber music sound is clearly deliberate (as is the slow tempo adopted for the more solemn English pieces).” Gramophone Magazine, Janauary 2013
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O Virgo Benedicta
Music of Marian Devotion from Spain’s Century of Gold
The Marian Consort: Gwendolen Martin, Emma Walshe (sopranos), Nicholas Scott (tenor), Steffan Jones (baritone), Christopher Borrett (bass) & Rory McCleery (countertenor/director)
For their debut recording, the six-strong Marian Consort explores music from late 16th- and early 17th-century Spain. This fascinating programme celebrates the rich compositional fruits of the Siglo de Oro’s intensely competitive musical culture. These luminary works, all dedicated to the Virgin Mary, demand performances of great intelligence and vocal commitment. The youthful Marians respond absolutely, bringing hushed intimacy and bristling excitement to some of the most gorgeously searing lines in the history of European polyphony.
“Formed by countertenor Rory McCleery, the Oxford-based Marian Consort makes its recording debut with a disc devoted, appropriately enough given its name, to works dedicated to the Virgin Mary...Fluent performances.” The Guardian, 23rd December 2010 ***
“The Oxford-based mixed choir makes a bold, bright sound with strong individual voices.” Classic FM Magazine, March 2011 ***
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Alonso Lobo - Missa Maria Magdalene
“Alonso Lobo is best known for one work, his setting of the funerary Versa est in luctum. This is undoubtedly a masterpiece of its kind but to have it placed alongside other pieces from his 1602 collection affords a welcome chance to assess his composition skills more fully. Lobo's music is sonorous in a manner that's direct and unfussy in effect, though often highly expressive, and always structured with the utmost technical control. Take, for example, the AveMaria, an 8-in-4 canon (in other words, four more voices are generated from the original quartet) which emanates a sense of absolute serenity. In fact, each of the motets explores a different aspect of the compositional techniques brought to the genre, and the Mass is equally fine, Lobo making the spacious textures of the motet, Maria Magdalene by his teacher Guerrero a distinguishing feature of his own setting of the Ordinary. The Tallis Scholars are on superb form, the overall sound vibrant and immediate with solo sections providing contrast through a more introspective approach. Even if you've never bought a CD of late-Renaissance polyphony, try this one. You'll be bowled over.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
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