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Venetian Christmas Import

4.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, September 3, 2001
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 3, 2001)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Dg Imports
  • ASIN: B00005ONMM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #282,466 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Don't listen to the music experts and their hair-splitting arguments: as a lover of Renaissance music I can tell you that this more than 80 minutes long recording by an all-male choir is simply wonderful and gives you the best of Western sacred music: virile Gregorian chant, exuberant but still deeply religious Late Medieval polyphony a la Desprez by Cipriano Rore and Italian Baroque by Giovanni Gabrieli, which is more mundane in tone but nevertheless very beautiful.
There is a striking but beautiful contrast between the low, almost cavernous plainchant resonating under the church vaults-the performance was recorded in a Northumbrian priory-and the high triumphant tones of the Renaissance contrapuntal pieces in which male altos play a prominent role. Short but gorgeous instrumental pieces alternate with chant and psalmody.
Psalmody? Yes, contrary to most Mass cds, this one contains not only the usual sequence of Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus and Agnus but also all the Latin readings sung on a very simple melody (the text and the translation are available in the accompanyng booklet, thank God!): the Epistle, the Gospel, the Eucharist prayers, etc.
The psalmody, specially the rather long Gospel reading, may sound monotonous at first but you will quickly get used to it and it will provide a welcome interlude during which your ears can take a rest and recover from the all powerful, almost overwhelming stimuli of polyphonic chant.
The reconstruction does not omit any detail: at the sacred moment of consecration, for example, when the priest invokes in a low voice the power of the Holy Spirit to come on the bread and wine, you hear the tremedously stirring sound of cathedral bells accompanied by the organ.
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Format: Audio CD
On the scale of favorite music for the Christmas Season for this listener it is often a toss up among Britten's 'A Ceremony of Carols', carols form the Kings College Chapel, and music composed for the midnight mass on Christmas Eve. This recording by the Gabrieli Consort and Players conducted by Paul McCreesh is about as authentic as they come. The works are by Giovanni Gabrieli and Cipriano de Rore (with one organ Toccata improvised after Girolamo Frescobaldi by Timothy Roberts) but the majority of the music is Gregorian Chant. The listener is transported to the vast spaces of San Marco which not only adds a holy resonance to the chants but also provides the perfect response time and setting for the polyphony of the Gabrieli works.

Performed on ancient instruments and organ, the recording captures all the mystery and candlelit hush of the period. The singing by the Gabrieli Singers is exceptionally fine. There may be more interesting works by Gabrieli on other recordings, but for creating a Venetian Christmas Eve Mass mood, few other recordings can top this one. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, October 05
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Format: Audio CD
I have liked the prior recording of Venetian music by Paul McCreesh, so I bought this CD without knowing anything about it. It did not disappoint. Like the prior recordings by the Gabrieli Consort this one is a mixture of beautiful playing and singing and scholarship that is not pedantic. The notes are very helpful in setting the scene as to what the Doge and the Signoria did to celebrate Christmas. Central to Paul McCreesh's recreation of Christmas Eve celebration is the mass by Cipriano de Rope, who had been the maestro di cappelle at San Marco. His plain chant mass was based upon a six part motet by Josquin but Rope adds a seventh part adding to the complexity of the polyphony. The most dazzling section is the setting O Jesu mi dulcissime by Gabrieli, written for two choirs and organ, which has an operatic quality about the music.
The recording is an interesting mix of plain chant and the orchestral and choral music of Giovanni Gabrieli, and recreates the atmosphere of a Christmas Eve at San Marco. At a timing of 80:57 this is a CD loaded with music and will be of interest to anyone interested in Venetian music and early polyphony. For those curious about this period of music, I would first recommend McCreesh's earlier "A Venetian Coronation."
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Format: Audio CD
'FIRST MASS OF CHRISTMAS AT ST.MARKS'

For the Doge and the Venetian nobility, Christmas Eve began with a series of attendances in the Basilica that were celebrated with great ceremony. Two hours before sunset, the Doge and the privileged political advisers came to San Marco, where they heard Vespers celebrated by a large group of musicians, vocal and instrumental; the musical settings were in 8,10,12 and 16 parts. As soon as Matins concluded, about 2 hours after Sunset, the first Mass of Christmas began. As it began, the Doge ,resplendent in the insignia of his office, left his throne, and accompanied by the papal Legate, knelt on the first step in front of the High Altar to respond to the Legate's Confession.

This distinctly Venetian symbiosis of religion and politics is epitomized in the first motet 'Audite principes'. Gabrieli's musical style in this motet makes use of a declamatory solo voice with supporting instruments, soon combining in an eloquent 16 part Tutti

Cypriano de Rore's setting of the Mass Ordinary is a parody of Josquin's famous 6-part motet'Praeter rerum serium',which celebrates the miracle of the birth of God in human form by the untainted Virgin Mother. To Josquin's 6-part texture Rore adds a seventh part. The result reflects Rore's command of traditional compositional techniques.

There is a great deal of clarifying information in the accompanying materials with the CD; it would be well for the listener to read it, as it is not particularly lengthy and easily comprehended.

Paul McCreesh is one of the most talented directors in the field of early music ,and along with his Gabrielli Consort & Players , has gained an international reputation.
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