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Libera Nos - The Cry Of The Oppressed / Rees, Contrapunctus

Tallis / Contrapunctus / Rees
Release Date: 08/27/2013 
Label:  Signum U.k.   Catalog #: 338   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  William ByrdThomas TallisPhilippe de MonteCardoso, Manuel, Frei,   ... 
Conductor:  Owen Rees
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Contrapunctus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 9 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



LIBERA NOS: The Cry of the Oppressed Owen Rees, cond; Contrapunctus SIGNUM (69:33 Text and Translation)


Works by: BYRD, TALLIS, MONTE, CARDOSO, PEERSON, CRISTO


Owen Rees has been actively involved in the research and performance of 16th- and 17th-century sacred music for over two decades. Aside from his several albums with the Cambridge Taverner Choir, his available catalog involves individual records with a variety of Read more ensembles: the Choir of St Catherine’s College, Cambridge; A Capella Portuguesa; the Choir of Queen’s College, Oxford; and now, Contrapunctus. The last-named is a relatively small ensemble of 11 (on their website; 10 on this release) vocalists with a repertoire “drawn from England, the Low Countries, Spain, Portugal, and Germany, particularly in the 16th and 17th centuries.” Thus far, this sounds much like Rees’s usual field of endeavor, and that’s confirmed by a statement of interest in the discovery and reconstruction of music, leading to first performances.


The emphasis is on English Catholics not allowed to worship openly in Elizabethan times, and Portuguese Catholics forced to live as part of Spain after their succession crisis of 1580. One of the highlights is an eight-voice motet by the Flemish composer Philippe de Monte, whose Super flumina Babylonis might be linked to Byrd’s Quomod cantabimus , which has in common a portion of the same Psalm, and who might have met the latter when he was in England in 1554–55. It’s hardly an unknown work, nor are the likes of Byrd’s Civitas sancti tui and Quomodo cantabimus , or Tallis’s Salvator mundi and In jejunio et fletu . They are all welcome ones, however, when performed as here with exquisite balance. Contrapunctus deploys four female sopranos, two male altos, and two tenors and basses apiece to produce a sound notable for its beautifully turned phrasing, and subtle highlighting of parts. The sound is that of a very fine, medium weight choir, with a blend that doesn’t compromise clarity.


And there are a few rarities present on this disc as well. Pedro de Cristo’s rapt Inter vestibulum is one of them, and his richly expressive Lachrimans sitivit anima mea is another. The latter has only one other currently available recording showing in the catalog, with the Taverner Choir under Rees (Herald Records 155). He also unveils a potential reconstruction in Tallis’s Libera nos . It survives as an instrumental piece, but most of that same manuscript’s contents are vocal pieces that often list only the incipit of texts. That it works well is hardly surprising.


With full texts and in good sound, definitely recommended. Let’s hope we hear more from Rees and Contrapunctus, and soon.


FANFARE: Barry Brenesal
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Civitas sancti tui by William Byrd
Conductor:  Owen Rees
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Contrapunctus
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1589; London, England 
Venue:  Church of St Michael and All Angels, Sum 
Length: 5 Minutes 1 Secs. 
2.
Libera nos, salva nos by Thomas Tallis
Conductor:  Owen Rees
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Contrapunctus
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
Venue:  Church of St Michael and All Angels, Sum 
Length: 2 Minutes 7 Secs. 
3.
Super flumina Babylonis by Philippe de Monte
Conductor:  Owen Rees
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Contrapunctus
Period: Renaissance 
Venue:  Church of St Michael and All Angels, Sum 
Length: 5 Minutes 41 Secs. 
4.
Quomodo cantabimus? by William Byrd
Conductor:  Owen Rees
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Contrapunctus
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Venue:  Church of St Michael and All Angels, Sum 
Length: 8 Minutes 37 Secs. 
5.
Sitivit anima mea by Cardoso, Manuel, Frei
Conductor:  Owen Rees
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Contrapunctus
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1625; Portugal 
Venue:  Church of St Michael and All Angels, Sum 
Length: 4 Minutes 22 Secs. 
6.
Laboravi in gemitu meo by Martin Peerson
Conductor:  Owen Rees
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Contrapunctus
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Church of St Michael and All Angels, Sum 
Length: 5 Minutes 28 Secs. 
7.
Cantiones sacrae, Book 2: Miserere mei, Deus by William Byrd
Conductor:  Owen Rees
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Contrapunctus
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1591; London, England 
Venue:  Church of St Michael and All Angels, Sum 
Length: 3 Minutes 20 Secs. 
8.
Lachrimans Sitivit Anima Mea by Pedro de Cristo
Conductor:  Owen Rees
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Contrapunctus
Venue:  Church of St Michael and All Angels, Sum 
Length: 5 Minutes 53 Secs. 
9.
Gradualia, Volume 1: Part 1 - Plorans ploravit by William Byrd
Conductor:  Owen Rees
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Contrapunctus
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1605; England 
Venue:  Church of St Michael and All Angels, Sum 
Length: 5 Minutes 6 Secs. 
10.
In jejunio et fletu by Thomas Tallis
Conductor:  Owen Rees
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Contrapunctus
Period: Renaissance 
Written: after 1559; England 
Venue:  Church of St Michael and All Angels, Sum 
Length: 4 Minutes 54 Secs. 
11.
Salvator mundi, salva nos I by Thomas Tallis
Conductor:  Owen Rees
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Contrapunctus
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1575; England 
Venue:  Church of St Michael and All Angels, Sum 
Length: 2 Minutes 50 Secs. 
12.
Inter Vestibulum by Pedro de Cristo
Conductor:  Owen Rees
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Contrapunctus
Venue:  Church of St Michael and All Angels, Sum 
Length: 2 Minutes 32 Secs. 
13.
Liber secundus sacrarum cantionum: Infelix ego by William Byrd
Conductor:  Owen Rees
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Contrapunctus
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1591; England 
Venue:  Church of St Michael and All Angels, Sum 
Length: 13 Minutes 34 Secs. 

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