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SIG 295
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SIG 295

The Word Unspoken

The Classical Shop
release date: April 2013

Originally recorded in 2011

Artists:

Gallicantus



Venue:

St Michael's Church, Summertown, Oxford

July 2008 & Jan 2011

Producer:

Adrian Peacock


Nigel Short


Andrew Mellor



Engineer:

Andrew Mellor



Record Label
Signum

Genre:

Vocal & Song




Total Time - 69:15
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Sacred Music by William Byrd & Philippe de Monte
   
Select Complete Single Disc for
  The Word Unspoken  
   
 

WILLIAM BYRD

1 

Tristitia et anxietas

9:17
2 

Vigilate

4:38
3 

Tribulationes civitatum

9:24
4 

Vide, Domine, afflictionem

7:57
5 

Ne irascaris

8:46
  from Cantiones Sacrae (1589)  
 

PHILIPPE DE MONTE

6 

Domine, quid multiplicati sunt

5:47
7 

Miserere mei, Deus

3:33
8 

Voce mea ad Dominum clamavi

3:02
  from Motets Book V (1579)  
9 

O suavitas et dulcedo

5:04
10 

Super flumina Babylonis

5:19
   
 

WILLIAM BYRD

11 

Quomodo cantabimus

6:28
   


 William Byrd, favourite of Queen Elizabeth I, was a confirmed and practising catholic who worshipped in defiance of the Queen. His status and perhaps even his life was preserved thanks partly to the undeniable mastery of his music, and to the fact that he was careful to maintain an output of music appropriate for a Protestant Rite (simple and English) as well as a Catholic one (florid and Latin).

 
Byrd was by no means the only major Catholic composer working in England during these years. Furthermore, there were English composers whose faith drove them to work abroad, as well as foreign composers who offered sympathy and encouragement to English catholics. Included in this latter category was the Flemish composer Phillipe De Monte who entered into a fascinating compositional correspondence with Byrd. Verses of Psalm 136 ‘Super Flumina Babylonis’ (containing many allegorical references to the plight of catholics unable to practice their faith openly) were set to music and exchanged, in what is now seen as an encoded message of mutual support and friendship between brothers in faith.
 
The texts reveal the Catholic community’s sense of isolation (“How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?” – Quomodo Cantabimus) and bereavement (“Jerusalem is wasted” – Ne Irascaris), and the elaborate, poetic nature of the encoded messages distributed within it through music.
 
The early-music consort Gallicantus (led by former King’s Singer Gabriel Crouch) is drawn from the ranks of recent BBC Music Magazine award-winning choir Tenebrae. 
 
 

                         Vocal Disc of the Month

 
"...Gallicantus achieves something rather special here."
 
 
Fabrice Fitch - Gramophone magazine - October 2012

"...these fine performances reveal some fantastic motets by de Monte and revisit some of Byrd’s finest music – all to an exceptionally high standard. Gallicantus also offer us a sublime performance Byrd’s finest Ne irascaris Domine. This is one of the most beautifully poised recordings of this motet that I have ever heard with alto, Mark Chambers, effortlessly balancing the oaky lower voices with a silvery tone. Unforgettable."  ****
 
Ed Breen - MusicalCriticism.com - August 2012

"Gallicantus explores Byrd’s fascinating ’personal musical exchange’ with Philippe de Monte in The Word Unspoken. Six Byrd motets sit alongside five by the Italian who, like Richafort, deserves to step out from under the shadow cast by giant contemporaries.The singing is beyond exemplary: deeply felt, tenderly phrased, perfectly balanced, with the most profound understanding, seemingly bred in the bone."

 
Rebecca Tavener - Choir & Organ magazine - September 2012
 
 

"...Galicantus give highly charged, heart-rending accounts of this work, and the final coming together in psalm 137 is almost unbearably poignant."

 
D James Ross - Early Music review - October 2012
 

"This disc recalls the remarkable exchange between William Byrd and the Flemish composer Philippe de Monte in the 1580s.
De Monte sent Byrd his eight-part motel Super flumina Babylonis. Byrd replied with the eight-part Quomodo cantabimus. These powerful works take their texts from the same psalm, alluding to captivity and exile - a gesture of solidarity for the recusant Catholic Byrd, a subtly conspiratorial reply from the Englishman. The intensity of the music is reflected in Gallicantus’s beautifully shaped performances, even if we miss now the raw sense of peril that English Catholics must then have felt."
 
Stephen Petit - The Sunday Times - July 2012

                    Recording of the month
 
Michael Greenhalgh - MusicWeb-international - November 2012
 

"As a specialist early-music consort, Gallicantus are perfectly placed here to compare the works of William Byrd and Philippe de Monte - the one a Catholic recusant fortunate in the favour of Elizabeth I for his simpler Protestant pieces, the other a Flemish sympathiser and correspondent. Gallicantus render exquisitely the ornate verses of Byrd’s Cantiones Sacrae, their interwoven timbres cascading in noble equilibrium; but the most direct comparison is between de Monte’s "Superflumina Babylonis" and Byrd’s "Quomodo cantabimus", both derived from Psalm 136, which subsequently gave the world Boney M’s deathless "Rivers of Babylon". In this case at least, music is the winner, whichever one prefers."   ****
 
The Independent - July 2012



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