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CO 6114
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CO 6114

Giovanni Pierluigi de Palestrina - Volume 4

The Classical Shop
release date: September 2013

Originally recorded in 2013


Harry Christophers

The Sixteen


Church of St Alban the Martyr, Holborn, London

Jan 2013


Mark Brown


Mike Hatch

Record Label
Coro Records



Total Time - 71:42
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Missa O Magnum Mysterium

1 Kyrie 3:38
2 Gloria 5:48
3 Credo 8:13
4 Sanctus 3:57
5 Benedictus 2:41
6 Agnus Dei I & II 5:51
7 A solis ortu cardine 7:28
8 Lubilate Deo 3:28
9 Ad te levavi 3:18
10 Ave Regina caelorum 3:29

Songs Of Songs No's 7,8 & 12

11 Fasciculus myrrhae dilectus meus mihi 3:16
12 Ecce, tu pulcher es, dilecte mi 3:20
13 Introduxit me rex in cellam vinariam 3:30
14 Magnificat quinti toni 9:10
15 Deus enim firmavit 2:13
16 Surge, illuminare 2:22

A towering figure in Renaissance polyphony, Palestrina is arguably one of the greatest composers of liturgical music of all time. Harry Christophers and The Sixteen continue their exploration of his work with the fourth album in their celebrated series. 

This album features a selection of Palestrina’s music for Christmas including his largely unknown masterpiece, the Missa O magnum mysterium. Also presented is the unusual hymn A solis ortu cardine—a setting of a chant hymn for Christmas morning. Among composers, Palestrina is unusual in setting this hymn for Lauds on the Feast of Nativity. Most composers reserved their efforts for the more important celebrations of Vespers. The text, written by Caelius Sedulius, is itself unusual in that the verses begin with successive letters of the alphabet.

Alongside the hymns are motets from the Song of Songs. The Song of Songs are among some of Palestrina’s most sublime and expressive works and, as with previous recording in the series, this album includes three of them. Dedicated to Pope Gregory XIII, Palestrina’s style of writing for these sensual texts demonstrates what variety and intensity of feeling can be conveyed with the simplest of means.

Completing this recording are three double-choir motets (a genre in which Palestrina was unsurpassed), Ave Regina, Iubilate Deo and Surge illuminare. 


 "... these discs are a pleasure to listen to and are highly recommended for anyone with an interest in sacred choral music."    ****   (Review of Vol 4 & 5)

Nicholas Brown - Early Music Today magazine - December 2014 - February 2015

 "This is Vol 4 of The 16’s survey of Palestrina’s great polyphonic legacy. Standards of quality have long been set. This group offers some of the most beautiful mixed-voice choral singing that can be imagined, yet always applied with a clear sense of the musical structures. For people who love gorgeous choral music, this program is a treat by itself. For people who cherish Palestrina’s music, it is another addition to a series of utmost importance in the composer’s discography... The motets included here are a nicely varied lot, ranging from a Latin hymn setting through a four-voice Magnificat to three splendid double-choir items. Full and rich sound..."

John W Barker - American Record Guide - March/April 2014

 "...This is becoming a delightful series."

JF Weber - Fanfare - March/April 2014

                                     Performance ****      Recording ****

 "...The singing throughout is well-blended and precisely tuned, and the echoey acoustic adds warmth..."

Anthony Pryer - BBC Music magazine - April 2014

"... This generous selection is delivered with the group’s customary clarity and commitment, mirroring the counter-reformation ideals with which Palestrina is associated..."  ****

Tony Way - Limelight - 2 March 2014

"... As always the singing is impeccable and precise without ever being staid; rather, Christophers welcomes a more emovtive colour and drama - words not usually associated with Palestrina’s brand of contained, classical polyphony."

Robert Levett - International Record Review - December 2013

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