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Parsons: Sacred Music Import

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Gramophone award-winning ensemble The Cardinall s Musick present an album of music by Renaissance composer Robert Parsons. Very few records remain of the composer s short life and his musical output is often overlooked, perhaps due to the long shadow of William Byrd, his successor at the Chapel Royal. However, Parsons vocal writing is some of the most opulent of the period. The Cardinall s Musick give sublime performances of some of the composer s most sumptuous works, from the remarkably sophisticated Magnificat to the dramatic O bone Jesu.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Domine, quis habitabit?
  2. Peccantem me quotidie
  3. Holy Lord God Almighty
  4. Deliver me from mine enemies
  5. Retribue servo tuo
  6. Solemnis urgebat dies 'Iam Christus astra ascenderat'
  7. Magnificat
  8. Libera me, Domine
  9. Credo quod redemptor
  10. O bone Jesu
  11. Ave Maria


Product Details

  • Orchestra: The Cardinall's Music
  • Conductor: Andrew Carwood
  • Composer: Robert Parsons
  • Audio CD (October 11, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: HYPERION
  • ASIN: B005CCJS86
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #277,705 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Stephen Midgley on October 17, 2011
Format: Audio CD
This is an absolutely beautiful disc, both for the music and for its performance. Robert Parsons (c.1535-1572) was a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal and an esteemed composer in his day, but he left far less music to posterity and is much less known than his great near-contemporaries Tallis and Byrd. That must surely be at least in part because tragically, at only 36 years of age, he died in a drowning accident in the River Trent at Newark. But, as will soon be clear to anyone who listens to this marvellous CD, the music we do have from him is magnificent.

The opening motet, "Domine quis habitabit?", is simply beautiful - wonderfully pure and lucid music, sung here with absolute mastery. The rest of the programme consists of motets mainly on Latin texts but with a couple in English, with three more substantial works which are true masterpieces - an alternatim Magnificat, glorious in both melody and texture with soaring, sinuous lines that reminded me of Josquin; "Retribue servo tuo", a work of unusually rich and varied textures with two alto and no soprano/treble parts; and another extended piece, "O bone Jesu" - similarly scored, again most beautiful in melody and intensely rich in texture, and with an especially fine climax. Other favourites for me are the superb setting of "Deliver me from mine enemies", and the one Parsons work that is somewhat better known and has been more frequently performed and recorded - the lovely "Ave Maria", with its deeply satisfying final sequence of chords bringing the disc to a close.

The entire programme is well judged and organised, varied in texture, and most beautifully performed by The Cardinall's Musick; in fact I would say that, of the many fine things the group have brought us from that era, this CD is one of their best.
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Format: Audio CD
I completely agree with Stephen Midgely's excellent review above. This is a superb disc of very fine music sung by one of the world's great ensembles.

Stephen gives a very good description of the disc and has said much of what I would have said: Parsons wrote some terrific music in his short life and The Cardinall's Musick sing it wonderfully. Tudor polyphony is repertoire in which they really excel and I would put this disc in the same class as their superlative recordings of Fayrfax, Ludford and Byrd - very high praise indeed but thoroughly merited. The singing is beautiful and genuinely engaged with the texts, the recorded sound is superb, the notes excellent and the presentation very attractive.

In short, it's a cracker and very warmly recommended. My advice is to snap it up.
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Format: Audio CD
I totally concur with the preceding reviews by Messrs Midgeley and Nuncius.I always expect good things from the Cardinall's Musick but this really impressed me as much as some of their best recordings of Byrd and Tallis. Listening to this you'll start to have an inkling why William Byrd had to wait for Parsons' untimely death before getting a place in the Royal Chapel.
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