Holiday Shop


WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

La Quinta Essentia / Paul Van Nevel, Huelgas Ensemble


Release Date: 12/11/2007 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi   Catalog #: 901922   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Orlando de LassusThomas AshwellGiovanni Palestrina
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
This title is currently unavailable.



Notes and Editorial Reviews



Ever heard of Ashewell? Now here's your chance

The Huelgas Ensemble here produce a really amazing range of sounds, full and rich and yet wonderfully translucent. There can be few better ways to introduce oneself to the music of Thomas Ashewell. Paul van Nevel and his singers mine his expressive Missa ‘Ave Maria’ with the excitement of explorers who have come across new treasures.

-- Gramophone [3/2008]


The Huelgas-Ensemble presents another superbly sung, thoughtfully programmed recording that offers for our consideration what conductor Paul Van Nevel describes as "the three major
Read more styles of the Renaissance", represented by Roman, Franco-Flemish, and English Late Gothic masses. It's easy to understand the choice of Palestrina (Roman) and Lassus (Franco-Flemish)--but with Thomas Ashewell we truly have a horse of a different color, stylistically for sure, but also one with the most meager catalog (only two extant complete works, according to Van Nevel). The term "late Gothic" as applied to musical style also is not a common one, but Van Nevel obviously has carefully--and probably cleverly--chosen to demonstrate its aspects with Ashewell rather than with a more familiar yet more commonly heard contemporary composer such as Cornysh, Fayrfax, or Carver.

All of this aside, what we have here is a very engrossing concert during which you really can hear the distinct differences Van Nevel talks about in his informative notes, and where you can thoroughly revel in sonorities (especially in the Lassus) that resonate so fully and deeply that you suspect some electronic trickery must be involved. But no, we learn that the "trick" is in having found an ideal performing space--the Museum of Water in the Convento dos Barbadinhos in Lisbon (there are several color pictures of this), a high-ceilinged, open-storied architectural marvel whose primary materials seem to be wood and glass and stone. Combine this setting with Huelgas-Ensemble's absolutely dead-on intonation and focused, dynamic collective sound (not to mention some fine musical material) and you have one incredible vocal-performance event.

You know you're in for something special right from that first soul-satisfying cadence in the Lassus Kyrie. I was further intrigued at how Lassus preserved elements of his original model (Gombert's "Tous les regretz" chanson)--for example, Gombert's typical close-layered imitation technique using very short melodic bits (apparent in the Sanctus)--while still reconstituting the work as his own, and as a functional, formidable, affecting liturgical entity. Although Palestrina's "Ut re mi fa sol la" Mass is not among his most illustrious in the genre, listeners can easily appreciate its distinctive cantus firmus and the composer's facility and varied treatment of it throughout. Again, Van Nevel has chosen a worthy yet rarely recorded work--another of this program's benefits.

As mentioned, Ashewell's Ave Maria Mass is an adventure unto itself, characterized by long melismas, high treble parts, liberal use of cross relations, and above all, very complex rhythms within and between parts, reminiscent of 15th-century Northern European music from an era even before Ashewell (who was born around 1480, a generation before Lassus and Palestrina). There's nothing left to say, except if you're a fan of Renaissance choral music, don't hesitate.

--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Missa "Tous les regretz" by Orlando de Lassus
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1577 
2.
Missa "Ave Maria" by Thomas Ashwell
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
3.
Missa "Ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la" by Giovanni Palestrina
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1570; Italy 

Customer Reviews

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




YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN TO ARKIVMUSIC STREAMING.
TRY IT NOW FOR FREE!
Sign up now for two weeks of free access to the world's best classical music collection. Keep listening for only $19.95/month - thousands of classical albums for the price of one! Learn more about ArkivMusic Streaming
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In