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Couperin: Lecons de Tenebres - Gesualdo: Tenebrae Responsories / Short, Tenebrae


Release Date: 04/03/2020 
Label:  Signum Classics   Catalog #: 622  
Composer:  François CouperinCarlo Gesualdo
Performer:  Jonathan ReesJulia DoyleGrace DavidsonSteven Devine
Conductor:  Nigel Short
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tenebrae
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Some of the most atmospheric music from the numerous Liturgical settings in Holy Week is that composed for the Office of Tenebrae. Victoria’s are the most well-known, but equally beautiful and arguably more dramatic are the settings composed by Gesualdo. They have an intensity unrivalled in most music of that time owing to the extraordinary and sudden harmonic shifts, which at times sound almost contemporary, and rhythmic outbursts led on occasion by a single word. As a result the listener is always kept on their toes, waiting for the next wild change of direction.

Couperin’s Trois Leçons de Ténèbres are widely regarded as some of the great masterpieces of the French liturgical tradition. They are a
Read more mixture of Italian and French styles, and while the declamatory and melodic text settings align with the tragédie lyrique style of the time, the incipits are traditionally set in plainsong formula, and the Hebrew letters of the alphabet appear in the text as melismas. The three Leçons appeared in print between 1713 and 1717, unlike the remaining six of the full nine settings (of which Couperin made reference in his writings), which are now lost. Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Leçons de tenébres by François Couperin
Performer:  Jonathan Rees (Viola Da Gamba), Julia Doyle (Soprano), Grace Davidson (Soprano),
Steven Devine (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1713-1717; Paris, France 
2.
Tenebrae Responsories (9) for Maundy Thursday by Carlo Gesualdo
Conductor:  Nigel Short
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tenebrae
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 

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