Vigilate!

Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: Thomas Tallis, Peter Philips, Robert White, William Byrd, Thomas Morley, Thomas Tomkins

Genre:

Vocal

Label: Soli Deo Gloria

Media Format: CD or Download

Mastering:

DDD

Catalogue Number: SDG720

SDG720. Vigilate!

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
Suscipe quaeso Dominus Thomas Tallis Composer
John Eliot Gardiner
Monteverdi Choir
Ecce vicit Leo Peter Philips Composer
Monteverdi Choir
John Eliot Gardiner
Lamentations (6vv) Robert White Composer
Monteverdi Choir
John Eliot Gardiner
Turn our captivity John Eliot Gardiner
William Byrd Composer
Monteverdi Choir
Nolo mortem peccatoris Thomas Morley Composer
Monteverdi Choir
John Eliot Gardiner
Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom Thomas Tomkins Composer
John Eliot Gardiner
Monteverdi Choir
Christe qui lux es Robert White Composer
John Eliot Gardiner
Monteverdi Choir
Nunc dimittis servum tuum Monteverdi Choir
John Eliot Gardiner
William Byrd Composer
Civitas sancti tui William Byrd Composer
Monteverdi Choir
John Eliot Gardiner
Vigilate John Eliot Gardiner
Monteverdi Choir
William Byrd Composer
O nata lux de lumine John Eliot Gardiner
Thomas Tallis Composer
Monteverdi Choir
Laudibus in sanctis William Byrd Composer
John Eliot Gardiner
Monteverdi Choir
Iustorum animae Monteverdi Choir
John Eliot Gardiner
William Byrd Composer
It is rare nowadays for the Monteverdi Choir to venture as early as the English Renaissance; and it is equally rare to hear a motet recital of this period sung by an ensemble that is so audibly a mixed choir with a forceful personality at the helm. This is potentially a very positive attribute; at any rate it makes a change from the conformity of interpretation observable in this repertory in particular. Certain decisions regarding dynamics or articulation (the nearly constant piano for Byrd’s Civitas sancti tui or the clipped staccato of Peter Philips’s Ecce vicit Leo) are applied with a single-mindedness almost startlingly out of the ordinary.

Refreshing on one level, this very directed approach seems a throwback to another age, except in terms of the singers’ vocal technique. Tallis’s Suscipe quaeso Domine calls attention to an inherent pitfall: while in homophonic passages phrasing and articulation are very incisive, in denser polyphonic sections one senses hesitancy, as though the singers were uncertain how far to shape their own lines within or against the prevailing dynamic. The ending is surprisingly scrappy. White’s set of Lamentations is similarly tentative. At the reduced verse ‘Omnis populis eius’, and even more at ‘O vos omnes’, tempi seem too slow for the soloists to shape their lines effectively. When the full ensemble enters, the exaggerated elocution at ‘in die irae furoris sui’ underlines the lack of definition of what precedes. The choir is at its most assured when contrapuntal lines tend in the same direction or when homophony prevails. The concluding ‘Amen’ of Tomkins’s Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom does conclude the recital with a ravishing vignette. And speaking of bookends, the label’s sumptuous production values extend to some stunningly evocative photographs of woodcarving from 15th-century churches.

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