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Bruckner: Motets / Ferguson, St. Mary's Catherdral Choir Edinburgh

Bruckner / Rsamd Brass / Ferguson
Release Date: 06/14/2011 
Label:  Delphian   Catalog #: 34071   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Anton Bruckner
Performer:  Oliver Brewer
Conductor:  Duncan Ferguson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Mary's Cathedral ChoirRSAMD Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 2 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



BRUCKNER Motets: Tota pulchra es, Maria. Aequale I. Totenlieder I. Ave Maria. Afferentur regi. Christus factus est. Ecce sacerdos. Virga Jesse. Locus iste. Pange lingua. Iam lucis orto sidere dignare. Aequale II. Libera me. Totenlieder II. Vexilla regis. Os justi. Inveni David Duncan Ferguson, cond; Nicholas Wearne (org); St. Mary’s Cathedral Ch Edinburgh; Royal Scottish Acad of Music and Drama Brass DELPHIAN 34071 (62:10)


As Delphian’s superb booklet notes by conductor Duncan Read more Ferguson observe: “Despite the scale of Bruckner’s other works, which included symphonies, major choral works, and chamber music, the motets and shorter sacred works should be considered at the heart of his creative output, for it is in the expression of these ancient religious texts—often apparently austere and yet with the power to speak most directly—that Bruckner reveals something of his inner world.” Most of these works are quite short; only two of them— Ecce sacerdos (for organ, brass, and four-part choir) and Libera me— last longer than six minutes (the average duration for the rest is less than four minutes each). These 17 selections give us a generous cross section of Bruckner’s motets; five are from his formative period (1835–55), five are from his years as Cathedral Organist at Linz (1856–68), and the other seven come from his lengthy Vienna period, where Bruckner (1824–96) spent his last years starting in 1869 (his final motet is the unaccompanied Vexilla Regis of 1892). It should also be noted that not every work here is vocal; each Aequale setting is scored for just three trombones and was used as somber music for funerals. All but two of the vocal items are sung in Latin, while the Totenlieder (songs of death) are sung in vernacular German (this is the only recording of those two works currently available on CD). Ten of these motets are sung a cappella , but there are some unusual combinations elsewhere (such as Inveni David , which is scored for four male voices and four trombones). Full texts and English translations are provided.


One really doesn’t need to be religious in order to enjoy the sheer beauty of this music. What sets this CD apart from every other Bruckner motet collection I’ve heard is its stunning recorded sound, the passionate fervor of the performances, and the extraordinary brilliance of the singing. I’m usually leery of church acoustics, but Ferguson’s handling of the choral entrances is so exquisitely timed that the gentle reverb actually becomes an asset instead of a liability. It turns out that St. Mary’s Cathedral was the very first in the United Kingdom to allow girls (ages nine to 14) to join boys as trebles back in 1978. These wonderfully well-trained choristers (19 total: 11 girls and eight boys) join with six altos (two female and four male), four tenors, and five basses for a total vocal force of 34 that sings with impeccable intonation, perfect diction, and a contagious sense of pure exaltation.


This is quite simply the one Bruckner motet collection to own if you’re having only one. It’s with the greatest pleasure and a most delighted feeling of surprise that I’m placing this very special CD right at the top of my 2011 Fanfare Want List.


FANFARE: Jeffrey J. Lipscomb
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Works on This Recording

1.
Tota pulchra es, WAB 46 by Anton Bruckner
Performer:  Oliver Brewer ()
Conductor:  Duncan Ferguson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Mary's Cathedral Choir,  RSAMD Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 4 Minutes 59 Secs. 
2.
Aequale no 1 for 3 Trombones in C minor, WAB 114 by Anton Bruckner
Conductor:  Duncan Ferguson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RSAMD Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1847; St. Florian, Linz, A 
Length: 1 Minutes 38 Secs. 
3.
Totenlied no 1 in E flat major, WAB 47 by Anton Bruckner
Conductor:  Duncan Ferguson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RSAMD Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1852 
Length: 1 Minutes 21 Secs. 
4.
Ave Maria by Anton Bruckner
Conductor:  Duncan Ferguson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RSAMD Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: Austria 
Length: 3 Minutes 18 Secs. 
5.
Afferentur regi, WAB 1 by Anton Bruckner
Conductor:  Duncan Ferguson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RSAMD Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1861; Linz, Austria 
Length: 2 Minutes 2 Secs. 
6.
Christus factus est, WAB 11 by Anton Bruckner
Conductor:  Duncan Ferguson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RSAMD Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1884; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 4 Minutes 43 Secs. 
7.
Ecce sacerdos magnus in A minor, WAB 13 by Anton Bruckner
Conductor:  Duncan Ferguson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RSAMD Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 6 Minutes 8 Secs. 
8.
Virga Jesse floruit in E minor, WAB 52 by Anton Bruckner
Conductor:  Duncan Ferguson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RSAMD Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 3 Minutes 42 Secs. 
9.
Locus iste in C major, WAB 23 by Anton Bruckner
Conductor:  Duncan Ferguson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RSAMD Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1869; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 2 Minutes 57 Secs. 
10.
Pange lingua, WAB 33 "Tantum ergo" by Anton Bruckner
Conductor:  Duncan Ferguson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RSAMD Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 5 Minutes 22 Secs. 
11.
In St Angelum custodem, WAB 18 by Anton Bruckner
Conductor:  Duncan Ferguson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RSAMD Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Linz, Austria 
Length: 3 Minutes 58 Secs. 
12.
Aequale no 2 for 3 Trombones in C minor, WAB 149 by Anton Bruckner
Conductor:  Duncan Ferguson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RSAMD Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1847; St. Florian, Linz, A 
Length: 1 Minutes 18 Secs. 
13.
Libera me Domine in F minor, WAB 22 by Anton Bruckner
Conductor:  Duncan Ferguson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RSAMD Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1854; St. Florian, Linz, A 
Length: 6 Minutes 23 Secs. 
14.
Totenlied no 2 in F major, WAB 48 by Anton Bruckner
Conductor:  Duncan Ferguson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RSAMD Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1852 
Length: 1 Minutes 32 Secs. 
15.
Vexilla regis, WAB 51 by Anton Bruckner
Conductor:  Duncan Ferguson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RSAMD Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 4 Minutes 35 Secs. 
16.
Os justi meditabitur sapientiam, WAB 30 by Anton Bruckner
Conductor:  Duncan Ferguson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RSAMD Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1879; Linz, Austria 
Length: 5 Minutes 17 Secs. 
17.
Inveni David in F minor, WAB 19 by Anton Bruckner
Conductor:  Duncan Ferguson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RSAMD Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Linz, Austria 
Length: 2 Minutes 47 Secs. 

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