WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org
Welcome to ArkivMusic, the retail store for classical.net!

Villette: Choral Music / Layton, Vivian, Holst Singers


Release Date: 04/11/2006 
Label:  Hyperion   Catalog #: 67539   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Pierre Villette
Performer:  James Vivian
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Holst Singers
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Low Stock: Currently 3 or fewer in stock. Usually ships in 24 hours, unless stock becomes depleted.  
On sale! $21.98
CD:  $19.99
Low Stock



Notes and Editorial Reviews



VILLETTE O sacrum convivium. Hymn to the Virgin. Attende, Domine. Notre Père d?Aix. Inviolata. Tu es Petrus. 1 O quam suavis. Salutation angélique. 1 Polyphonic Verses for ?Veni Creator.? Panis angelicus. O salutaris hostia. Ave verum. Salve regina. O quam amabilis es. Jesu, dulcis memoria. Adoro te. O magnum misterium ? Stephen Layton, cond; James Vivian (org); 1 Holst Singers Read more class="BULLET12b">? HYPERION CDA 67539 (62: 42 & )


Eerie synchronicities of all sorts seem rife in this reviewer?s life of late, and here we go again: I made my first acquaintance with Pierre Villette (1926?1998) via a program-annotating assignment for a May 2006 all-French program by the Chicago Choral Artists, which included the composer?s gently moving 1954 O salutaris hostia . Now come to find a whole disc of Villette, including O salutaris , in my Fanfare ?In? pile; and a very fetching disc it is.


Listeners who expect musical styles to progress in a fashion analogous to scientific research may find Villette, at least, a tad annoying: Throughout his career, as annotator Fiona Clampin notes, he ?eschewed the uncompromising modernity of much French twentieth-century music [and] ploughed his own furrow . . .?. More specifically, following a climax of stylistic complexity with the 20-voice Inviolata of 1991, he returned to simpler harmonies and textures in the works of his final seven years, five of which are among the 17 selections on this program. For my money, Beethoven?s retrogressive Eighth Symphony provides all the precedent anyone might care to demand in this regard; and listeners who care more how music sits on the ear, and (on the vocal front) how well it expresses its texts, are in for a treat here.


I fantasized for a few brief seconds about writing this review in French, in order to have some fresh alternatives to the English adjectives I?m wearing out on the continuing procession of fine choral releases that have come to hand of late. Leaving aside the middling quality of my French, I still want the next piece of paper from Tenafly to be green rather than pink; so let me simply note that the Holst Singers? blend, diction, intonation, and ensemble are uniformly up there with the best, as is the engineering of the recording. The unison men?s voices in the plainchant verses of Veni Creator would do any monastery proud; likewise the high C in Tu es Petrus ?challenging to the best of operatic soloists?fazes the Holst sopranos not a whit.


The annotations by Clampin are notably penetrating and illuminating; the works, however, are discussed in chronological order of composition, while the programming order sensibly alternates the more challenging and the more relaxing?opening, for example, with the Messiaen-like O sacrum convivium and then proceeding to the simpler and more tuneful Hymn to the Virgin . The result is a bit of navigational complexity for the reader/listener; but the annotations do cite track numbers for each piece as it?s mentioned, so this complaint is far, far from a deal-breaker.


Clampin?s notes mention the relationship formed in the1970s between the composer and the Worcester Cathedral Choir, then under the direction of Donald Hunt, to whom the 1983 Attende, Domine is dedicated. Sadly, Hunt?s recordings of Villette appear to have disappeared from the current catalog. In fact, this release is evidently the only all-Villette program on today?s market, so it?s doubly gratifying that it is such a fine one. By all means, recommended.


FANFARE: James Carson
Read less

Works on This Recording

1. O sacrum convivium by Pierre Villette
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Holst Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: France 
2. Hymne a la Vierge, Op. 24 by Pierre Villette
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Holst Singers
3. Attende, Domine, Op 45 by Pierre Villette
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Holst Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1983; France 
4. Notre Père d’Aix by Pierre Villette
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Holst Singers
Period: 20th Century 
5. Inviolata by Pierre Villette
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Holst Singers
Period: 20th Century 
6. Tu es Petrus by Pierre Villette
Performer:  James Vivian (Organ)
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Holst Singers
Period: 20th Century 
7. O quam suavis by Pierre Villette
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Holst Singers
Period: 20th Century 
8. Salutation angélique by Pierre Villette
Performer:  James Vivian (Organ)
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Holst Singers
Period: 20th Century 
9. Polyphonic Verses for “Veni Creator” by Pierre Villette
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Holst Singers
Period: 20th Century 
10. Panis angelicus, Op. 80 by Pierre Villette
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Holst Singers
Period: 20th Century 
11. O salutaris hostia by Pierre Villette
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Holst Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1954; France 
12. Ave verum by Pierre Villette
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Holst Singers
Period: 20th Century 
13. Salve regina by Pierre Villette
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Holst Singers
Period: 20th Century 
14. O quam amabilis es by Pierre Villette
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Holst Singers
Period: 20th Century 
15. Jesu, dulcis memoria by Pierre Villette
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Holst Singers
Period: 20th Century 
16. Adoro te by Pierre Villette
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Holst Singers
Period: 20th Century 
17. O magnum mysterium, Op 53 by Pierre Villette
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Holst Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1983; France 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook