Notes and Editorial Reviews
Lagrime di San Pietro
Gabriel Crouch, cond; Gallicantus
SIGNUM 339 (53:21
Text and Translation)
St. Peter is said to have worn grooves in his cheeks from the tears he wept for his denial of the Savior during the night of the Last Supper. Orlandus Lassus (1532–1594) created the revered setting of 20 seven-voice madrigals and a Latin motet on this theme to texts of Luigi Tansillo. It was his last work, dedicated to the successor of St. Peter, and it was just the right
length to fill an LP, so we have had complete versions since 1973, and this is the 10th that I know of. All have been issued on CD, even Raphaël Passaquet’s choral rendition. It was followed by István Párkai’s smaller chorus, and since then all subsequent recordings have used one voice to a part except Bo Holten, who calls his 17-member ensemble a chamber choir. Paul van Nevel, slowest of all, was overpowered by instruments, while Livio Picotti used them more lightly. The most recent attention the work had (
34:4) considered the three latest versions and put Christopher Jackson on top, if not by much.
Now we have a new one with Jackson’s tempos, but the group is all male, like Michael Procter’s. (They did add two sopranos for their Byrd-Monte disc, 36:4.) Yet Crouch’s male group is down only half a tone from Jackson, while Procter’s is down another half a tone. The singing is rather cool, a bit lacking in the emotional response that empathy with St. Peter might evoke, but still expressive, the text coming through clearly. We really have a diversity of interpretations of this work now. You may not want the broadest tempos or as many instruments as Paul van Nevel (17:4) uses, but Livio Picotti (34:4) has a more modest ensemble if that pleases you. Crouch has a fine all-male group at normal, modest tempos, but Michael Procter (34:4) has a similar group at very fast tempos and a significant filler that adds to the composer’s discography. Christopher Jackson (34:4) has a mixed ensemble at modest tempos, but Philippe Herreweghe (18:1) has a masterly interpretation with broad tempos, a version that still stands up well. I’m returning to my former preference for the last, but Crouch is also a fine choice.
FANFARE: J. F. Weber
Works on This Recording
Lagrime di San Pietro by Orlando de Lassus
Written: 16th Century
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