WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Sidus Preclarum - Ciconia: Complete Motets / Mala Punica


Release Date: 06/16/1998 
Label:  Erato   Catalog #: 21661   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johannes CiconiaAnonymous
Conductor:  Pedro Memelsdorff
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mala Punica
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 53 Mins. 

In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

The title of this disc ("Brightest Shining Star") is a phrase referring to the city of Padua in one of Johannes Ciconia's motets, but the phrase may be understood here as praise of the composer. The disc includes 10 motets, omitting only Regina gloriosa, admittedly a contrafactum but significant as the basis for a Gloria/Credo pair by the composer (it is heard in the Paul van Nevel set, Fanfare 21:6). Also included are two instrumental pieces based on fragments, and three chants related to the subjects of the motets.

One of the notes, written by John Nadas, gives the latest insights into the biography of the composer. Suzanne Clercx-Lejeune's article in The New Grove was obsolete even before it appeared in 1980, but
Read more even later accounts can be supplemented by Nadas's discovery of a 1391 document in the Vatican Archives. He calls it a dispensation, but it appears rather to be a decree of legitimation, since it relieves the composer of any obligation to mention his illegitimacy again, for that is just what legitimation means. This silence has helped to obscure the biographical references that have been applied to both the composer and his father, making them appear to be one person. Nadas places Ciconia in Rome throughout the 1390s. He omits any mention of Avignon, and indeed it now appears unlikely that Ciconia spent any time there. When his father traveled there, Avignon was the residence of the only pope, but after the Great Schism began in 1378 Liège was most likely loyal to the pope who resided in Rome, and that is where the younger Ciconia went.

Paul van Nevel's set, as noted when it first appeared, is helpful for its overall view of the composer, but in many details it leaves much to be desired. Memelsdorff has much to add to our appreciation of these motets. Four of the motets are sung in straightforward fashion, while van Nevel precedes each of them with a lengthy instrumental introduction that increases their length by double or more. Yet Memelsdorff takes O Petre Christi and O beatum incendium more slowly than van Nevel, who uses only one voice-part in the former of the two.

As mentioned above, the notes are valuable, but the booklet is confusing. In order to put the texts of the double-texted motets side by side, it was impossible to put the translations on the same page. Hence the texts and four sets of translations are in separate parts of the booklet, laid out as the variety of motets demands and surrounded by the quadrilingual annotation, two versions of it in front, two in back. In a precious nod to the symmetry of isorhythmic motets (a point that leads off the annotation), the page numbering proceeds from the center of the booklet outward, negative numbers running from minus 28 to minus 1, followed by 1 to 28. Even a table of contents on the last page is hardly enough to make this easily usable. Yet, with color illustrations and all, there is much of value here.

There is enough diversity in the Ciconia discography to give someone an opportunity for an extensive comparison of competing versions. Memelsdorff will be a significant part of the result.

-- J. F. Weber, FANFARE [11/1998]
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
O felix templum jubila by Johannes Ciconia
Conductor:  Pedro Memelsdorff
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mala Punica
Period: Medieval 
Written: circa 1400; Italy 
Language: Latin 
2.
Albane misse celitus/Albane doctor maxime by Johannes Ciconia
Conductor:  Pedro Memelsdorff
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mala Punica
Period: Medieval 
Written: Italy 
Notes: This selection is an instrumental diminution of Ciconia's motet reconstructed by Mala Punica. 
3.
O beatum incendium by Johannes Ciconia
Conductor:  Pedro Memelsdorff
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mala Punica
Period: Medieval 
Language: Latin 
4.
Alleluia by Anonymous
Conductor:  Pedro Memelsdorff
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mala Punica
Period: Medieval 
5.
O virum omnimoda by Johannes Ciconia
Conductor:  Pedro Memelsdorff
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mala Punica
Period: Medieval 
6.
Venecie mundi splendor by Johannes Ciconia
Conductor:  Pedro Memelsdorff
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mala Punica
Period: Medieval 
Written: circa 1405; Italy 
Language: Latin 
7.
Petrum Marcello venetum by Johannes Ciconia
Conductor:  Pedro Memelsdorff
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mala Punica
Period: Medieval 
Language: Latin 
8.
O Petre Christe discipule by Johannes Ciconia
Conductor:  Pedro Memelsdorff
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mala Punica
Period: Medieval 
Language: Latin 
9.
Ut te per omnes by Johannes Ciconia
Conductor:  Pedro Memelsdorff
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mala Punica
Period: Medieval 
Written: Italy 
Language: Latin 
10.
O Padua sidus proeclarum by Johannes Ciconia
Conductor:  Pedro Memelsdorff
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mala Punica
Period: Medieval 
Language: Latin 
11.
Doctorum principem/Melodia suavissima by Johannes Ciconia
Conductor:  Pedro Memelsdorff
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mala Punica
Period: Medieval 
Written: Italy 
Language: Latin 
12.
Alleluia Franciscus pauper by Anonymous
Conductor:  Pedro Memelsdorff
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mala Punica
13.
Dicit Dominus Petro by Anonymous
Conductor:  Pedro Memelsdorff
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mala Punica
Period: Medieval 
14.
Padu...serenans [fragment] by Johannes Ciconia
Conductor:  Pedro Memelsdorff
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mala Punica
Period: Medieval 
Written: Italy 
Notes: This selection is an instrumental diminution of a fragment attributed to Ciconia, reconstructed by Mala Punica. 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title