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Song Of Angels / Bill Ives, Choir Of Magdalen College


Release Date: 03/25/2003 
Label:  Signum U.k.   Catalog #: 38   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Richard DavyJohn MasonJacquet of MantuaThomas Appleby,   ... 
Conductor:  Bill Grayston Ives
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Magdalen College Choir Oxford
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a real "hometown team" disc that revolves around musicmaking at Oxford's Magadalen College. Not only did the college's choir record this collection at its own chapel, but the repertoire is very much Magdalen's as well: each piece was written between 1480 and 1560 and was either composed or sung at Magadalen. You may wonder just how many interesting or important works sprang from this source during that relatively brief 80-year span, but this disc proves just how rich the musical life of the church was back then, largely due to the influential musicians who at one point or other served as the school's Informatores Choristarum (chorister instructors).

By far, the most well-known Magdalen composer was John
Read more Sheppard, and a good portion of this album is dedicated to his output (Dum tranisset sabbatum, The Lord's Prayer, and Libera nos). But even more fascinating is to hear the program's other material, both for its rarity and also for its demonstration of the aesthetic crossroads of the 16th century. Juxtaposed are pieces of Sarum plainchant, selections by John Mason, Jacquet of Mantua, and Thomas Appleby, as well as John Davy's stately, polyphonic Stabat mater (which in a disc full of very fine performances particularly stands out, as the 15-minute work demands a high endurance level from the singers). Brief instrumental interludes come in the form of two organ pieces by Thomas Preston.

Director Bill Ives conducts his forces with an assured sense of balance between parts (a performance facet faithfully captured by the audio engineers), and both his adult and boy choristers sing with unerring pitch and fine phrasing. Having said that, this is a disc more for specialist than casual listeners, despite the broad-market appeal of the title "Songs of Angels". But for lovers of early English choral music, it is quite rewarding. [3/8/2003]

--Anastasia Tsioulcas, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Stabat mater by Richard Davy
Conductor:  Bill Grayston Ives
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Magdalen College Choir Oxford
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1490; England 
2.
Quae sumus by John Mason
Conductor:  Bill Grayston Ives
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Magdalen College Choir Oxford
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
3.
Aspice Domine by Jacquet of Mantua
Conductor:  Bill Grayston Ives
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Magdalen College Choir Oxford
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century 
4.
Magnificat by Thomas Appleby
Conductor:  Bill Grayston Ives
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Magdalen College Choir Oxford
5.
Dum transisset Sabbatum by John Sheppard
Conductor:  Bill Grayston Ives
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Magdalen College Choir Oxford
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 

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