Choral treasures of the 16th century are slowly yielding to the work
of scholars, and, perhaps more importantly, are steadily added to the repertoires
of specialist choral groups around the world.
Cantores has evolved from Exeter University's chamber choir, and
the present 16 singers now have a London base under the watchful eye and
musical direction of David Allinson. So encouraging for the art is the steady
increase of small choirs devoted to high ideals and prepared to adopt only
repertoire of musical worth, ancient or modern.
have on this CD medieval motets for Penitence and in rememberance of the
Passion. Eighty minutes' worth of mostly sombre and intense settings are
ideally to be sampled in small groups. My way faithfully follows that precept:
to do otherwise I would find enormously taxing to the attention span.
That said, listening to and absorbing the full measure of these intricate
structures makes for a subtle response to both music and the overall atmosphere.
It can further induce an experience beyond the music's power. To take an
unknown composer, William Pashe, in his setting Sancta Maria Mater Dei,
is communicated a beauty based on a technique beyond my expectation of an
unknown composer of that time, not banished to a community in Outer Mongolia
but living and working in London. [Click to listen.]
Josquin Des Prez' affecting setting of the Stabat Mater has a
place in this programme as well as the Orlando De Lasso setting for two
choirs. Last in the programme is Gombert's David's lament for Absolam, a
distinctive motet in its musical manner and setting. [Click
Copyright © Basil Ramsey, November
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