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Musica Vaticana / Jackson, Studio De Musique Ancienne De Montreal

Pitoni / Lassus / Ugolini / Jackson,Christopher
Release Date: 09/27/2011 
Label:  Atma Classique   Catalog #: 2508   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Giuseppe Ottavio PitoniOrlando de LassusVincenzo UgoliniGiovanni de Macque,   ... 
Conductor:  Christopher Jackson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Studio de Musique Ancienne de Montréal
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The monumental choral music on this recording was heard at Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome over a period of two centuries. This music embodied the spirit of triumphant Catholicism as did the architectural projects of the Eternal City. This CD features rare polychoral compositions by great Renaissance composers: Giovanni de Macque (v.1550-1614); Roland de Lassus (v.1532-1594) Francesco Soriano (1549-1621); Vincenzo Ugolini (1570-1638); Giuseppe Ottavio Pitoni (1657-1743); and Orazio Benevoli (1605-1672).

R E V I E W S:

With this 2011 release, Musica Vaticana, Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal, led by its founder Christopher Jackson, solidifies its reputation as one of the very finest choirs specializing
Read more in music of the Baroque and Renaissance. Its tone is warmly blended and pure, and it is able to produce a wide range of tonal colors suited to whatever is being performed. Most importantly, the chorus enters fully into the spirit of the music, so its performances are lively and spontaneous-sounding. It brings just the right grave nobility and earnestness to Lassus' motet Domine, quid multiplicati sunt, and an appropriately intense expressivity to some of the quirkier Baroque works. In Giovanni de Macque's motet, Ave regina coeli, for instance, the heavy sadness of the repeated "Vale," (Farewell), is delivered, to terrific effect, with an almost madrigalian anguish. Most of this repertoire, primarily for multiple choirs and basso continuo, is recorded here for the first time and there are some real treasures in addition to the works mentioned above. Giuseppe Ottavio Pitoni, maestro di cappella at St. Peter's for nearly a quarter of a century, was one of the most famous Roman musicians of the early 18th century, and left well over 4,000 compositions but is hardly known today. His Dixit Dominus is a wonderfully eccentric work with choral writing that's all over the map stylistically, including some foreshadowing of Philip Glass. Orazio Benevoli's motets for groups of solo sopranos and continuo are especially lovely and lyrical. In such distinctive and unconventional company, the largest work, Vincenzo Ugolini's Missa Beata es Virgo Maria, comes off as routine and formulaic. The elegant, understated continuo part is provided by organ, strings, and harp. ATMA's sound is vivid, with good balance and ambience.

Stephen Eddins, All Music Guide

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The unitary thread in the program of this CD is that all of the composers were directly or secondarily associated with the Cappella Giulia, the chapel choir officially established on February 19, 1513, by Pope Julius for the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel. Francesco Soriano (1549–1621), considered to be one of Palestrina’s finer pupils, directed the Cappella from 1603 until 1620, and was succeed by Vincenzo Ugolini (1570–1638) from 1620 to 1626. Orazio Benevoli (1605–72), a pupil of Ugolini, occupied the post in turn from 1646 until his death in 1672. I could not immediately find further information on these two figures. Somewhat later, Giuseppe Ottavio Pitoni (1657–1743) succeeded Domenico Scarlatti as the Cappella’s director from 1719 until his death in 1743; remarkably, he also served lifetime appointments in Rome as maestro di cappella of the Basilica of San Marco from 1677, the Church of the Holy Apostles from 1686, and the Church of St. John Lateran from 1708. Like Corelli, Handel, and Scarlatti père et fils , he enjoyed the long-term patronage of the music-loving Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni; incredibly prolific, his 3,500 compositions include some 325 Masses, 800 psalm settings, and 235 motets. For his part, Orlande de Lassus (c.1532 –94) served briefly during 1553–54 as maestro di cappella of the Basilica di San Giovanni in Rome—where both Palestrina and Soriano pursued studies—before he found lifelong employment at the court of Duke Albrecht V of Bavaria in 1556. Although Giovanni de Macque (c.1550–1614) primarily made his career in Naples from 1586 onward, before that he spent time in Rome, where he met both Palestrina and Soriano.


As one would expect, the compositions illustrate a progression of musical styles from the late-Renaissance polyphony of Lassus and Macque, through a transitional mixture of late-Renaissance and early-Baroque elements in Soriano, onward to the full-blown early-Baroque works of Ugolini and Benevoli, and concluding with Pittoni in the late-Baroque. The pieces by de Lassus and de Macque are sung a cappella , whereas those by Soriano, Ugolini, Benevoli, and Pitoni are performed with a basso continuo instrumental accompaniment, variously rendered here with Baroque cello, violone, contrabass, harp, and organ. The recorded sound is up close and resonant in the a cappella pieces, slightly further back (with continuo instruments more recessed yet) in the accompanied ones. Texts and notes are provided in Latin, English, and French.


This is the second release on ATMA that the Studio de Musique Ancienne de Montreal has devoted to music of 16th- and 17th-century Rome; the previous disc (titled Roma triumphans ) apparently was not submitted for review. The ensemble has appeared sporadically in these pages, with releases on K617 (liturgical chants) and Analekta (works of Giacomo Carissimi and Marc-Antoine Charpentier) as well as ATMA (more Charpentier and the Lagrime di San Pietro of Lassus). J. F. Weber has generally praised them (in 19:3 and 19:4), while Brian Robins has given them more mixed reviews (in 19:5, 22:4, and 29:3). I would characterize these performances as highly polished but not stylistically distinctive. While not identified as such, I believe that all or most of the works on this disc are premiere recordings (the Ugolini Mass is not to be confused with his motet of the same title that has enjoyed several recordings). Given proficient renderings, that alone is enough to warrant a recommendation for a disc that sheds further light on the music of lesser masters in Italy during the period 1550 to 1750.


FANFARE: James A. Altena
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Works on This Recording

1.
Dixit Dominus by Giuseppe Ottavio Pitoni
Conductor:  Christopher Jackson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Studio de Musique Ancienne de Montréal
2.
Domine, quidmultiplicati sunt by Orlando de Lassus
Conductor:  Christopher Jackson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Studio de Musique Ancienne de Montréal
3.
Quae est ista by Vincenzo Ugolini
Conductor:  Christopher Jackson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Studio de Musique Ancienne de Montréal
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Italy 
4.
Ave regina caelorum by Giovanni de Macque
Conductor:  Christopher Jackson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Studio de Musique Ancienne de Montréal
5.
O sacramentumpietatis by Orazio Benevoli
Conductor:  Christopher Jackson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Studio de Musique Ancienne de Montréal
6.
Laudate pueri Dominum by Orazio Benevoli
Conductor:  Christopher Jackson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Studio de Musique Ancienne de Montréal
7.
Juravit Dominum by Orazio Benevoli
Conductor:  Christopher Jackson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Studio de Musique Ancienne de Montréal
8.
In dedicatione templi by Francesco Soriano
Conductor:  Christopher Jackson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Studio de Musique Ancienne de Montréal

Sound Samples

Dixit Dominus
Magnum opus musicum: Domine, quid multiplicati sunt
Missa Beata es Virgo Maria: Kyrie
Missa Beata es Virgo Maria: Gloria
Missa Beata es Virgo Maria: Credo
Missa Beata es Virgo Maria: Sanctus
Missa Beata es Virgo Maria: Agnus Dei
Motectorum, Book 1: Ave regina caelorum
O sacramentum pietatis
Laudate pueri Dominum
Juravit Dominum
Psalmi et motecta: In dedicatione templi

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Pitch Problems! September 15, 2012 By David F. (Victoria, BC) See All My Reviews "One does not expect to encounter problems with intonation in a professionally recorded disc. Also there was a remarkable sameness in the music chosen, tiresome after a time." Report Abuse
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