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The Sacred Flame / John Rutter, Cambridge Singers, La Nuova Musica


Release Date: 05/05/2009 
Label:  Collegium Records   Catalog #: 134   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Felice AnerioGiovanni GabrieliCarlo Gesualdoof Portugal John IV,   ... 
Performer:  Thomas HobbsAmy MooreJames HolidayBen Breakwell,   ... 
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La nuova musicaCambridge Singers
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 18 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


A new recording by John Rutter and his Cambridge Singers is always welcome, and this one features 20 works drawn from the sacred choral repertoire of the Renaissance and Baroque. Most of these are motets and many are familiar (Palestrina's Sicut cervus and Exsultate Deo, Gabrieli's Jubilate Deo, Lassus' Timor et tremor, Josquin's Ave Maria) and all are included in Rutter's published anthology, European Sacred Music (Oxford). As Rutter states, the program's theme is to focus on the "wealth of sacred music...created in continental Europe out of the ferment of the age of Reformation", and while Rutter has chosen primarily works resulting from the "extraordinary flowering" of musical
Read more activity in the Catholic church during this period, we also are treated to a motet by Bach (O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht BWV 118/231, often mis-classified as a cantata), a Magnificat (presumably) by Buxtehude, and a psalm (100) by Schütz.

Some listeners of course will disagree, but for me, the program's two longest pieces--Monteverdi's Beatus vir and the Buxtehude Magnificat--are the least interesting, the former's main thematic material formed primarily by repetitive scales and rudimentary harmony set to monotonous rhythm, the latter functional and pleasant enough but rather flat, undynamic, and static, a work that reminds us that just because a notable composer wrote (or may have written!) something and the score survived doesn't necessarily mean it's good or worthy of more than musicological interest.

No matter how you judge these two works, you'll be happy with the performances, which throughout this recording are at the high level we always expect from this choir and director: vibrant, articulate, carefully balanced, and always attentive to a given work's inherent expressive possibilities. And speaking of articulate, it's wonderful to hear the opening Jubilate Deo (a piece lovingly attempted and so often mangled by well-meaning choirs all over the world) sung with such clarity and agility, unrushed; likewise, Palestrina's sublime Sicut cervus is well-paced, each line given its due. Other highlights include the Ave Maria of Josquin (impressive intonation and sectional tone quality), Lassus' Ave verum corpus (those exquisitely sustained long lines!), and a curious--and quite beautiful--setting of Crux fidelis attributed to John IV, King of Portugal. The instrumental ensemble, the relatively "new" La Nuova Musica, is first-rate, its timbres adding textural variety and layers of color to nine of the selections. And completing the package is top-notch production and engineering by Simon Eadon, captured in the excellent acoustics of London's Great Hall of University College School. Needless to say: Highly recommended!

--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Christus factus est by Felice Anerio
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La nuova musica,  Cambridge Singers
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 7 Secs. 
2.
Jubilate Deo by Giovanni Gabrieli
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La nuova musica,  Cambridge Singers
Period: Renaissance 
Length: 5 Minutes 8 Secs. 
3.
Responsories (9), Sabbato Sancto: no 5, O vos omnes by Carlo Gesualdo
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La nuova musica,  Cambridge Singers
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1611; Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 36 Secs. 
4.
Crux fidelis by of Portugal John IV
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La nuova musica,  Cambridge Singers
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Portugal 
Length: 2 Minutes 35 Secs. 
5.
Ave Maria by Josquin Des Préz
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La nuova musica,  Cambridge Singers
Period: Renaissance 
Length: 6 Minutes 7 Secs. 
6.
Ave verum corpus by Orlando de Lassus
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La nuova musica,  Cambridge Singers
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1582 
Length: 4 Minutes 13 Secs. 
7.
Timor et tremor, motet for 6 voices, M. iii (S. xix/6) by Orlando de Lassus
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La nuova musica,  Cambridge Singers
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1564; Munich, Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 33 Secs. 
8.
Cantate Domino by Claudio Monteverdi
Performer:  Thomas Hobbs (Tenor), Amy Moore (Soprano), James Holiday (Bass),
Ben Breakwell (Tenor), Amy Haworth (Soprano)
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La nuova musica,  Cambridge Singers
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 
Length: 1 Minutes 56 Secs. 
9.
Exsultate Deo by Giovanni Palestrina
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La nuova musica,  Cambridge Singers
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1584; Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 12 Secs. 
10.
Sicut cervus by Giovanni Palestrina
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La nuova musica,  Cambridge Singers
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1581; Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 15 Secs. 
11.
Laudate Dominum omnes gentes by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La nuova musica,  Cambridge Singers
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1619; Netherlands (Holland 
Length: 2 Minutes 55 Secs. 
12.
Jesu dulcis memoria by Tomás Luis de Victoria
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La nuova musica,  Cambridge Singers
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Spain 
Length: 1 Minutes 56 Secs. 
13.
Selva morale e spirituale: Beatus vir by Claudio Monteverdi
Performer:  Amy Moore (Soprano), Ben Breakwell (Tenor), James Holiday (Bass),
Amy Haworth (Soprano), Thomas Hobbs (Tenor)
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La nuova musica,  Cambridge Singers
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1640; Italy 
Length: 8 Minutes 32 Secs. 
14.
Christe, adormus te by Claudio Monteverdi
Performer:  Amy Moore (Soprano), Thomas Hobbs (Tenor), James Holiday (Bass),
Ben Breakwell (Tenor), Amy Haworth (Soprano)
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La nuova musica,  Cambridge Singers
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1620; Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 1 Secs. 
15.
Magnificat by Dietrich Buxtehude
Performer:  Katy Hill (Soprano), James Holiday (Bass), Ben Breakwell (Tenor),
Gabriel Crouch (Bass), Melanie Marshall (Alto), Grace Davidson (Soprano)
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La nuova musica,  Cambridge Singers
Period: Baroque 
Length: 8 Minutes 6 Secs. 
16.
Officium Hebdomadae Sanctae: Tenebrae Responsories - O vos omnes by Tomás Luis de Victoria
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La nuova musica,  Cambridge Singers
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1585; Spain 
Length: 3 Minutes 18 Secs. 
17.
Cantiones sacrae de festis praecipuis totius anni: Dixit Maria ad angelum by Hans Leo Hassler
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La nuova musica,  Cambridge Singers
Period: Renaissance 
Length: 2 Minutes 20 Secs. 
18.
Psalm 100 by Heinrich Schütz
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La nuova musica
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1619; Germany 
Length: 4 Minutes 23 Secs. 
19.
Selig sind die Toten by Heinrich Schütz
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La nuova musica,  Cambridge Singers
Length: 4 Minutes 11 Secs. 
20.
O Jesu Christ, mein Lebens Licht, BWV 118 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La nuova musica,  Cambridge Singers
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 4 Minutes 51 Secs. 

Featured Sound Samples

Magnificat anima mei, BuxWV 248 (Buxtehude)
Officium Hebdomadae Sanctae (Victoria): Tenebrae Responsories: O vos omnes

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Excellent January 11, 2012 By T. Mccloskey (Hereford, AZ) See All My Reviews "First, a disclaimer. I have never studied music, and would be hard pressed to distinguish between a cantata and a motet. But I love classical music, especially from the Baroque period. This CD was excellent, and would easily recommend it. I disagree with the official review; the Beatus Vir is perhaps my favorite piece on the CD." Report Abuse
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