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1 - GREGORIAN CHANT
Gregorian Chant, named after Pope Gregory I (d604), is the term commonly applied to the vast repertoire of liturgical plainchant assembled over the course of several hundred years, roughly 700-1300 AD. There are almost 3,000 extant chants in the Gregorian repertoire, with texts specific to each day of the Roman Catholic Church's liturgical year. The chants that make up the Ordinary of the Mass, the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus and Agnus Dei, are for use throughout the liturgical year. The chants for specific feast days (such as the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary) are known as the Propers, and can include antiphons, hymns, and other types of prayers. The Ave Maria, recorded here as a processional, is employed in the Roman rite as an antiphon for the Fourth Sunday in Advent, as well as for the feasts of the Annunciation (March 25) and the Immaculate Conception (December 8).
2 - WILLIAM CORNYSH (d1523)
The early Tudor poet, playwright, actor, and composer William Cornysh was a man of many talents. In 1509, he became Master of the Children of the Chapel Royal in the court of Henry VIII, a post he held until his death. Cornysh proved an entertaining addition to courtly life, providing plays and pageants for important occasions. He also seems to have been quite a businessman, obtaining permission to import beer and wine and to furnish five of the king's ships. As a composer, Cornysh made notable contributions to the secular partsong that flourished in the 16th century. Ave Maria, Mater Dei (scored for alto, two tenors, and bass) displays a simplicity in its polyphonic writing. Interestingly, all four voice-parts are employed simultaneously at only three brief points, setting the words "Ave Maria", "miserere mei" and "Amen".
3 - JOHN TAVERNER (c1490-1545)
John Taverner, known primarily for his sacred music, is considered the most important English composer of the early 16th century. His music reflects a church musician who com¬posed almost exclusively within the rigid constraints of the period. Nevertheless, he was pre-eminent among English musicians of his day. Scored for alto, two tenors, and bass, Taverner's Magnificat displays his predilection for the close imitation of florid melodic lines and the use of plainsong as a structural device. As was common in the Renaissance, Taverner sets the verses of the Magnificat in alternatim, the alternation between chant (shown in brown) and polyphony.
4-5 - CLAUDIO MONTEVERDI (1567-1643)/ AQUILINO COPPINI (c1600)
Italian Claudio Monteverdi was one of the most influential composers in the history of music. Although his compositions were rarely revolutionary in nature, he showed an astonishing ability throughout his long life for distilling and refining the latest ideas into viable techniques. In addition to his notable contributions to the creation of opera, he was also influential in the development of the madrigal, and the rejuvenation of church music.
One of Monteverdi's guiding principles was the intelligibility and expression of the text, an overriding tenet of the seconda prattica. To this end, Monteverdi developed a declamatory style first employed by Giaches de Wert (1535-1596), with rhythms approaching that of speech. These two five-voice madrigals, reset to sacred texts by Aquilino Coppini, are from Monteverdi's Il quinto tibro de madrigali (Venice, 1605) and are fine examples of this declamatory style. The original texts, tragic laments by Giovanni Battista Guarini, provided Monteverdi an opportunity for achingly beautiful, almost exclusively homophonic settings rife with crunching dissonances, lush suspensions, and abrupt shifts between major and minor tonalities.
Coppini, a professor of rhetoric at the University of Pavia, published three volumes of sacred contrafacta (the substitution of one text for another without altering the music) over the period 1607 to 1609, all employing madrigals by important composers of the time. His stated intent was that these works be "equally commendable to God and to His saints in churches and private houses." An ardent admirer - and personal friend - of Monteverdi (whose madrigals dominate the three volumes), Coppini worked his underlay with such attention to detail that much of the word-painting is retained.
6 - VASILY TITOV (c1650-c1715)
Vasily Polikarpovich Titov, a member of the Tsar's Singing Clerks, was one of the most gifted and prolific Russian composers of his time. His exploration of polychoral techniques, greatly influenced by the compositions of Heinrich Schütz, helped to alter the face of Russian sacred music. Although best known in his day for his three-part settings, Titov's œuvre includes over 40 sacred partesnïye konsertî ("concertos for multiple parts" -typically, twelve voices) and several large-scale Divine Services.
Both of the works by Titov on this recording are for twelve voice-parts, and display his effective use of polychoral writing. Lively, imitative exchanges between individual choruses are interspersed between sections of block-chordal movement in the richly sonorous style that has come to epitomize Russia's choral tradition. The Angel Cried Out is a hymn to the Mother of God for use during Paschaltide (from Holy Saturday through Ascension Thursday).
7-8 - TOMÁS LUIS DE VICTORIA (1548-1611)
Spanish composer and organist Tomás Luis de Victoria, like many of his contemporaries, traveled to Rome to learn his art. It is possible that Victoria studied with Palestrina while he was there; he was certainly one of the few late-Renaissance composers to master the subtleties of Palestrina's style. Victoria's many compositions, comprised exclusively of sacred works, brought him a great deal of fame during his lifetime, primarily due to his ability to publish lavish volumes of his works.
Victoria felt a great affection for the four Marian antiphons, composing numerous settings of these texts. The two motets heard here are for eight voices, in two four-voice choirs, and display Victoria's penchant for music of a joyful nature. The predominant texture of Regina cæli lætare, comprised of close imitation and fast scalar passages, is broken up by lively alleluia sections. Alma Redemptoris mater was evidently a favorite of Victoria's, as he used this eight-voice motet as the basis of a mass setting.
9 - GREGORIAN CHANT
The plainsong Ave maris stella is a hymn used at Vespers in the Roman rite on various feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
10 - VASILY TITOV
O Thou Joy of All the Sorrowful is a troparian (a Byzantine form of hymnody) for the feast in honor of the icon "Joy of All the Sorrowful" - the Virgin Mary.
11 - GIOVANNI PIERLUIGI DA PALESTRINA (1525/6-1594)
Renaissance master Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina's career was deeply rooted in the papal Rome of the Counter-Reformation. Primarily a composer of masses and sacred motets, his music is often referred to as the perfect example of Renaissance religious composi¬tional practices, as outlined in the dictates of the Council of Trent (most importantly, the elimination of secular elements and the intelligibility of texts in sacred compositions). Indeed, his music is viewed as the premier model for Renaissance polyphony to this day.
This sublime Ave Regina cælorum is one of several settings of this text by Palestrina. Scored for eight voices, it exploits the antiphonal aspects of two four-voice choirs. Lines of text are alternated between the choirs, with a gradual increase in overlapping, until the final phrase, where the voices plea together for Mary's intercession.
12 - JOSQUIN DESPREZ (c1440-1521)
Franco-Flemish composer Josquin Desprez, one of the greatest masters of the Renaissance, lived a life steeped in mystery for present-day scholars. However, the fact that he was well-respected by his contemporaries is sure. The great 16th-century printer of music, Petrucci, devoted as many as three books to the works of Josquin. No other composer was allotted more than one book by Petrucci, and publications devoted to a single composer were extremely rare.
Josquin's Ave Maria deftly alternates between imitative sections of two, three and four voices, imbuing the work with a sense of intimacy and tenderness. At the final couplet, where the text is in the first person singular for the only time, Josquin chooses a simple chordal setting, giving the effect of the four voices declaiming as one, "O Mother of Cod, remember me."
13 - JOSQUIN DESPREZ
Josquin's will specified that on every Saturday and Marian holiday, a Salve service (named after the Salve Regina plainsong) was to be held at his church in memory of his soul. This service, typically held at the end of the day, provided an occasion for composers to present their finest works in devotion to Mary. Josquin's beautifully expansive Salve Regina displays his skills as a mature composer, featuring a dense imitative texture and simple melodic phrases. The first four notes of the Salve plainsong move freely among the five voices as a cantus firmus, always at a slower note-value, and always on the word "salve," imbuing the work with a plaintive feel. Word-painting is also employed, including a descending passage on "illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte," as Mary "turns her eyes" toward us here below.
PRODUCER'S NOTES FOR DVD-AUDIO SURROUND SOUND
When Marianne Käch, Executive Producer for Teldec, informed us that Magnificat would be recorded in the new DVD-Audio Surround-Sound format, we were extremely excited. Not only would this CD be among the first a cappella recordings in this new, high-end audio format (five discrete channels at 24 bits, with a sampling rate more than twice that of a normal CD), but it would at last allow us to "position," or "choreograph" both the singers and you - the listener - in a real, perceptible, three-dimensional space, enveloping you with the sound of Chanticleer in a more intimate and personal way than ever before.
Although some of the works would be recorded in the "normal" concert position, that is, with the singers in front of the listener, there was now the added feature of the two rear Surround speakers, to transport you into the real ambience of the recording space. And the venue chosen by Teldec for Chanticleer's recordings is superb: the Scoring Stage at Skywalker Sound, just north of San Francisco. Built to be a spacious variable acoustic, from little or no reverberation for movie scores, to reverberation of the length and character of a Gothic Cathedral - ideally suited for recording this music dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
For the remaining works, we desired to take full advantage of the additional creative possibilities now offered to us by the DVD-Audio format. Here is how we "choreographed" them specifically for Surround:
Track 1: The Ave Maria chant was recorded as a processional, where we imagined that Chanticleer entered our "cathedral" by the rear center doors, split up into two lines, with one line proceeding up the left aisle and the other up the right, then concluded the chant by coming together into a single arc across the front. You will hear this movement as they process and chant: from center rear, forward up both sides, to center front.
Track 3: For Taverner's Magnificat, we achieved a recording first for Chanticleer. You are hearing two complete Chanticleers in this performance - 24 singers rather than 12. Since unison chant alternates with choral sections in this composition, we first placed Chanticleer at the rear of the "cathedral," singing the chant from a more distant perspective. Then we moved them to the front, recording the choral sections from a closer, more intimate perspective. Finally, we combined the two Chanticleers into the performance you now hear through the magic of digital editing.
Tracks 6 and 10: Written for twelve individual solo parts, these two compositions by Titov were an obvious opportunity for us to place the singers in a full circle surrounding the listener with this unique music.
Tracks 7 and 8: Both of these works by Victoria are for double chorus. We imagined that the solo chorus was singing in the left transept of our "cathedral," the tutti chorus in the right transept, and, between the two distinctly left/right choruses: you the listener.
Track 9: Finally, with Ave Maris stella, the second unison chant on this recording, we again decided to place the singers in a full circle around the listener, surrounding you with this simple, but beautiful chant to the Virgin.
Now please allow yourself to be transported completely into our "virtual cathedral," here to enjoy Chanticleer as you have never heard them before.
Steve Barnett Producer for Teldec
Ансамбль Кантиклер специализируется буквально на всей музыке, исполняемой а капелла, от Возрождения до госпелов и современной музыки. Этот универсализм ощущается на этом альбоме. Их исполнение не аутентично, они чуть-чуть изменяют акценты, превращая достаточную унылую для неподготовленного слушателя архаику в весьма доступное, или даже интересное действо. Материал записи очень разнообразен, от грегорианского хорала до тропарей Василия Титова. На последнем конечно же профондо баса не хватает, как и мощи звонкости сопрано, но все произведения представлены как бы в пастельном стиле. Каждый трек звучит на фоне очередной картины Мадонны с младенцем старых мастеров. А вот клип по видеоряду мне не понравился неестественной, какой-то напускной, одухотворенностью. Но собственно его можно и не смотреть. Запись, а о ней выше подробно написал Стив Барнетт, выполнена практически без ревербераций. Этот альбом вполне можно рекомендовать для знакомства с ранней хоровой музыкой, звук у вас будет и впереди по фронту, и по сторонам, вы ощутите глубину спереди. А потом диск перейдет в демо Телдековских дисков в 5.1. Многие из них представлены у нас на форуме и звучат очень симпатично.
Музыка – 10
Запись – 10
Многоканальность - 10