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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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Byrd Edition Volume 8
Cantiones Sacrae (1589)
“ASV's Byrd Edition presents Propers for Candlemas (also known as the 'Feast of the Purification'), and further motets from the 1589 CantionesSacrae, many of them composed to strengthen the spirits of the Queen's loyal Catholic subjects in those troubled and highly dangerous times. Which goes to explain the high proportion of sorrowful or penitential texts, the frequent cries for deliverance (AspiceDomine, Ne irascaris, Tribulationes), and the mastery with which Byrd sets them. This historical background, vital to an understanding of the music, doesn't exclude the possibility of a joyful outcome: Byrd can also contemplate the ultimate joys of heaven, (O quam gloriosum, Laetenturcaeli).
The choir enters deeply into an understanding of what lies behind these pieces. And Byrd is never averse to raising his singers' spirits by introducing a jaunty rhythm – the crowing cock in Vigilate, for example – or a bright, rising theme to inspire hope. The choir responds with sustained restraint, perfect balance and crisp rhythms.
The settings of the Propers for Candlemas offer a short recital of their own, this time in the full context of the liturgy for this ancient feast, and following the whole course of events as the story unfolds. A thoroughly satisfying disc.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
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