R.Johnson Sacred Choral Music

Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: Robert I Johnson

Label: Gaudeamus

Media Format: CD or Download

Mastering:

DDD

Catalogue Number: CDGAU154

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
Domine in virtute tua I Cappella Nova
Alan Tavener
Robert I Johnson Composer
Laudes Deo Cappella Nova
Robert I Johnson Composer
Alan Tavener
Domine in virtute tua II Robert I Johnson Composer
Alan Tavener
Cappella Nova
I geve you a new commaundement Robert I Johnson Composer
Alan Tavener
Cappella Nova
Dum transisset sabbatum Cappella Nova
Robert I Johnson Composer
Alan Tavener
Gaude Maria virgo Alan Tavener
Cappella Nova
Robert I Johnson Composer
Dum transisset sabbatum Robert I Johnson Composer
Cappella Nova
Alan Tavener
Ave Dei patris filia Robert I Johnson Composer
Cappella Nova
Alan Tavener
Benedicam Domino Robert I Johnson Composer
Cappella Nova
Alan Tavener
Robert Johnson’s contribution to British sixteenth-century polyphony is lively and varied. From the scant biographical references that exist, his movements can be tenuously traced from Scotland, through York and finally down to Windsor. This recording illustrates the diversity of his talent and even hints at the possible background of individual pieces. The two through-composed settings of verses 1-7 to Psalm 21, Domine in virtute tua laetabitur rex might well be prayers for a king north or south of the Border (something like the Domine, salvum fac regem); and Benedicam Domino is an English prayer with a Latin refrain “for our Queen”. The troped Lesson from Isaiah, with its florid interludes for solo tenor and bass, might well have contributed to the enjoyment of some royal household at Midnight Mass.
The music, often syllabic with closely knit imitations, progresses purposefully, almost dutifully. But some of the performances contain moments of sensitivity and delight: the choir take wing in the fast-moving and joyful Gaude Maria virgo. The little Marian meditation Ave Dei patris filia – a popular text, also set by several of Johnson’s contemporaries – is another high point of the recording. In general the style and tempo are well chosen, though the two settings of the Easter responsory Dum transisset Sabbatum are too slow for comfort: the Alleluias sound more lugubrious than cheerful. Why not allow the intonation to lead straight into the cantus firmus at the same speed? If both had been taken at a tempo corresponding to a slower, more majestic chant-verse, and the polyphony at a relatively faster one, everything would have come into focus.'

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