Notes and Editorial Reviews
This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.
Cantantibus organis. Dum aurora. Sicut lilium. Surge amica mea. Quam pulchri sunt. Duo ubera. Magnificat primi toni a 8. Corona aurea/Domine praevenisti
Wilfried Rombach, dir; ens officium
CHRISTOPHORUS 77288 (Hybrid multichannel SACD: 69:50
class="ARIAL12">Text and Translation)
Missa Cantantibus organis a 12
The major work is a Mass composed by committee in the 1580s and recorded in 1966 by Miroslav Venhoda, coupled with a Mass by Gallus (Supraphon 50776; only Gallus is on CD). Hence Rombach is incorrect in claiming this as a first recording. Palestrina contributed only the first half of the Gloria, and the other collaborators were his disciples Annibale Stabile, Francesco Suriano, Andrea Dragoni (who each wrote two sections), Ruggiero Giovanelli, Prospero Santini, and Curzio Mancini (who each wrote one section). The work came to light in 1930 when Raffaele Casimiri printed it as the first volume of
Monumenta Polyphoniae Italicae
. (Casimiri recorded music of this period with Roman choirs in 1928 for Brunswick and in 1933 for Christschall.)
The setting is incomplete, lacking Hosanna, Benedictus, and the last two sections of Agnus Dei. Unlike Venhoda, who simply performed what was extant, Rombach supplies chant settings for the first two parts and the second Agnus Dei, then reworking the music of Agnus Dei to make the third Agnus Dei (Dona nobis pacem). Supplying the chant for the missing text is not a happy solution, for the contrast between the expansive polyphony and the concise but fragmentary chant is jarring. Rombach’s ensemble, however, is a vast improvement over Venhoda’s large chorus with its vibrato. This is not a pleasant judgment to issue, for Venhoda was a pathbreaking conductor in his time and deserves to be remembered for his best work, but he was typical of his time in many ways. Nevertheless, the new version replaces the old without question.
The rest of the program consists of four motets from
, a book often recorded complete (30:2), three other motets, and a Magnificat, the last through composed (not alternating with chant). Consequently, the canticle flows steadily rather than being broken into verses. In addition to the motet that furnished the cantus firmus, the other two motets were chosen because they either did or could relate to St. Cecilia. Altogether, the additional pieces fill up the disc with music that fits the style and sense of the Mass perfectly. It is good to have this Mass, so easily overlooked because of its paternity, in a worthy performance. Venhoda served that purpose in its day, but Rombach has made a fine choice in putting this program together. Beautiful singing from beginning to end.
FANFARE: J. F. Weber
Works on This Recording
Cantantibus organis by Giovanni Palestrina
Written: 1575; Italy
Canticum Canticorum by Giovanni Palestrina
Written: by 1584; Italy
Magnificat primi toni by Giovanni Palestrina
Written: 16th Century; Italy
Dum aurora finem daret by Giovanni Palestrina
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