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Palestrina: Missa Tu Es Petrus / Baker, Westminster Cathedral Choir

Palestrina / Westminster Choir / Baker
Release Date: 03/09/2010 
Label:  Hyperion   Catalog #: 67785  
Composer:  Tomás Luis de VictoriaGiovanni Palestrina
Conductor:  Martin Baker
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Cathedral Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



PALESTRINA Motet and Missa Tu es Petrus. Missa Te Deum laudamus. VICTORIA Te Deum laudamus Martin Baker, dir; Westminster Cathedral Ch HYPERION CDA 67785 (77:49 Text and Translation)


The latest in a long series of Palestrina masses from this choir includes the first recording of a Mass that used the ancient hymn of thanksgiving, Te Deum , as cantus firmus. Read more Although published only posthumously in 1599, it had first been copied into a Sistine Chapel choirbook in 1585, when Victoria was still working in Rome. So it is an interesting juxtaposition to precede the Mass with Victoria’s motet on the same cantus firmus, even though the motet seems to have no definite connection with Palestrina, for it was only published in Madrid in 1600. The notes on Victoria are vague enough to show that little has been written about this motet or Victoria’s other lesser-known works. The setting alternates between the chant (taken from the solemn tone in the Liber Usualis ) and four-voice polyphony, a livelier setting of the text than the chant provides. Still, it makes an interesting work to precede the Mass on the same cantus firmus. This is a marvelous setting, too long neglected and suggesting that the remaining unrecorded masses have similar unrevealed glories.


The other Mass is more familiar, published in 1887 (No. 92 in Gustave Reese’s handy list) and a parody of the composer’s own motet of 1572. Another Mass so titled, published in 1601, is based on the chant antiphon, but no recording can be linked with certainty to that Mass. This is at least the sixth recording of this Mass, but the most recent (also coupled with the motet as here) dates back to Stephen Cleobury at King’s College on Argo/Decca, and the earlier ones are long gone. Cleobury had in fact just come to King’s from Westminster Cathedral at the time, and first reviews noticed a difference in the tone of the King’s boys such as we would expect after his work with the very different sound at the cathedral. That sound has been perfected under Hill, O’Donnell, and Baker, who followed Cleobury, evident in the latest recording. While both masses are for six voices, the first one doubles the middle parts (SAATTB) while this one doubles the outer parts (SSATBB), a distinctly different balance of sound. The motet, often recorded, is a marvelous work, not unlike Byrd’s setting, for both emphasize the reference to “the keys of the kingdom” that characterizes St. Peter’s role. Altogether, this is a marvelous well-filled disc, an excellent addition to any Palestrina collection.


FANFARE: J. F. Weber
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Works on This Recording

1.
Te deum by Tomás Luis de Victoria
Conductor:  Martin Baker
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Cathedral Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1581; Spain 
2.
Missa "Te Deum laudamus" by Giovanni Palestrina
Conductor:  Martin Baker
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Cathedral Choir
3.
Tu es Petrus by Giovanni Palestrina
Conductor:  Martin Baker
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Cathedral Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Italy 
4.
Missa "Tu es Petrus" by Giovanni Palestrina
Conductor:  Martin Baker
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Cathedral Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Italy 

Featured Sound Samples

Missa "Tu es Petrus" (Palestrina): I. Kyrie

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