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Victoria: Masses Ave Maris Stella & O Quam Gloriosum / Hill
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Motet - Messe "O quam gloriosum" - Messe "Ave Maris Stella" / Westminster Cathedral Choir, dir. David Hill
Victoria's potential was such that while still a teenager he was sent from his home in Spain to study music in Rome. There he encountered an incredibly rich musical environment that included many of Europe's finest musicians, including Palestrina. Although Victoria wasn't one of the more prolific composers of his time, many of his masses and motets stand among the greatest and most beautiful masterpieces of the late Renaissance. Rather than relying on elaborate structures or unusual harmonies, Victoria mastered the smaller details of melodic shape and the use of contrasting homophonic and polyphonic textures to create and resolve tension and to set and maintain mood. Examples of these techniques abound on this award-winning recording--just listen to the intensely emotional Agnus Dei of the O Quam Gloriosum mass and the effective changes of mood in the Credo of the Ave Maris Stella mass. --David Vernier
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Product Dimensions : 5.5 x 4.94 x 0.45 inches; 3.81 Ounces
- Manufacturer : Hyperion UK
- SPARS Code : DDD
- Date First Available : December 27, 2006
- Label : Hyperion UK
- ASIN : B000002ZHC
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: #282,308 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
- Customer Reviews:
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The acoustic of the cathedral is ideal for creating a sense of space of grandeur. Intonation is superb and the human voices often takes on the characteristics of pealing bells, yet diction remains pellucid despite the resonant ambience. No polyphonic music ever expressed such unfettered yet dignified joy or reflected more confidently the rejuvenated certainties of the Counter-Reformation.
I have sung this music several times and always remark upon how the choir finds itself "in flow" during performance; no devotional music has ever been devised to sit more comfortably on the voice. How can just singing "judicare vivos et mortuos" in four parts in the Credo be so thrilling? De Victoria makes real drama out of the Creed instead of just going through the liturgical motions; we sense that he is very close to the realities of the parousia and subsequent eschaton. This is music which never strays far from teleological doctrine. Great, grand, glorious music - buy it.
This is music and these are performances that people who don't ordinarily like classical music, or people who aren't particularly religious, can listen to and enjoy endlessly.
Pascal was like-minded.
On November 23, 1654, he was overwhelmed by a numinous encounter with the One. He wrote up his experience - as best as he could - and sewed it into the liner of his coat as a keepsake. It wasn't until after his death that a servant uncovered this little note. This encounter has become known as "Pascal's Night of Fire."
So after rounding the Cape, we return to this disc. It was luminously performed and recorded in November 1983. Both works are masterpieces. But there's something more to the Agnus Dei of the Missa Ave Maris Stella that I have never been able to fathom. As far as I can tell, it's an invitation.
It's phrased in the imperative. Does it entreat one to forego this shell of blood and bone? Perhaps. Is it an invitation to delve into eternity? I suspect so.
This much I know: if Pascal had heard it, he would have exclaimed "Fire".