WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org
Welcome to ArkivMusic, the retail store for classical.net!

The Spirits Of England And France Vol 5 - Missa Veterem


Release Date: 01/11/2011 
Label:  Helios   Catalog #: 55285   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  AnonymousJohn Dunstable
Performer:  Steven HarroldJulian PodgerCatherine KingStephen Charlesworth,   ... 
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 5 Mins. 

In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Gothic Voices under Christopher Page’s direction made some twenty-three CDs for Hyperion over a period of about twenty or so years. The personnel changed a great deal over that time and there are those who think that once Margaret Philpot left then things were never quite as exciting. In addition Page started to move down other lines, away from the secular songs of France and Italy. For example he set about recording complete Mass cycles - something that he was passionate about - and not Masses by the great and the good of the 15 th Century but by anonymous composers. Since his direction came to an end Gothic Voices have lived on with two discs for Avie of Solage and Landini.

The Missa Veterem
Read more hominem is a fine and complex work, and the performance which is dynamic and constantly interesting seems to go beyond the bare notes and almost into the mind of the (sadly) anonymous composer. It’s in a rendition which he probably wouldn’t have been able to hear; for example the top line is taken by Catherine King, who although she has no vibrato and has a clarity which is quite remarkable is obviously not a male!

The Mass is surrounded and broken up by carols and plainchants one of which is Deus creator omnium, which immediately precedes the Kyrie and is performed by Leigh Nixon. It uses, in the polyphonic version, the same troped text. So busy and wordy is this text that it takes longer to perform than the Gloria. The plainchant of the Veterem hominem is quoted in the booklet, is used in part as a head motif but is not strictly adhered to. The important notes by Page and Andrew Kirkman talk about wishing to “render the music in a festive colour”. One way this is achieved is by the sheer vitality of the performance and by tempo, so that the tactus is really the same for each movement and quite fast it is too. Despite that there is no sense of unrelenting breathlessness; there’s even a sense of searching spirituality attained. Nevertheless there are places when surely a little more sensitivity would have been fitting. I’ll mention two, the ‘Qui Tollis’ in the Gloria and the ‘Et Incarnatus’ in the Credo where the music seems to cry out for it and at a point where things need to relax a little. However, to back up Page’s point, the Creed does miss out the darker part of the text beginning ‘Crucifixus etiam pro nobis’ and moves quickly into ‘Et resurrexit’.

This mass was composed about 1440 for a special occasion which Page does not venture to elucidate nor does he speculate about the composer. Whoever he was he may well have written the sister mass featured on volume 4 in this series, the Missa Caput (CDH 55284). Both were hugely influential and found in many continental sources and the mass under consideration here is also quoted by Thomas Morley in his ‘Plaine and Easy Introduction to Music’ (1597). English music in the early 15 th century, in fact since the days of John Dunstaple (or Dunstable) (d.1453) had led the world. The style here is not his nor that of Lionel Power of a slightly earlier period; perhaps Henry Souleby or Soursby of Eton – of the Chapel Royal in the 1460s - is the sort of man we should be looking at, but that is just my aimless speculation.

The carols - Jesu, fili virginis and To many a well - are also taken at a brisk speed to match the typically frank English rhythms. The motets to the Virgin are befittingly much more calm and meditative, and what a good idea on a disc in which plainchant has been crucial to end with one of the most moving, the ‘Pange lingua’.

It has been interesting to return to this well programmed disc not having heard it for several years. My original impression was not especially favourable but on re-acquaintance I have become quite excited about the Mass and about singing and am sorry that I have abandoned the disc on my shelf for a decade. Listen for yourself, it’s a revelation.

-- Gary Higginson, MusicWeb International
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Missa "Veterem hominem" by Anonymous
Performer:  Steven Harrold (Tenor), Julian Podger (Tenor), Catherine King (Alto),
Stephen Charlesworth (Baritone)
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Renaissance 
Written: circa 1440; England 
Language: Latin 
2.
Christe, qui lux es et dies by Anonymous
Performer:  Leigh Nixon (Tenor)
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Medieval 
Language: Latin 
3.
Salvator mundi by Anonymous
Performer:  Leigh Nixon (Tenor)
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Portugal 
Language: Latin 
4.
Jesu fili virginis by Anonymous
Performer:  Steven Harrold (Tenor), Julian Podger (Tenor), Catherine King (Alto)
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Medieval 
5.
Doleo super te/Absolon, fili mi by Anonymous
Performer:  Stephen Charlesworth (Baritone)
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Medieval 
Written: 14th Century; England 
6.
Gaude Maria virgo by Anonymous
Performer:  Steven Harrold (Tenor)
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Medieval 
7.
Deus creator omnium by Anonymous
Performer:  Leigh Nixon (Tenor)
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Medieval 
8.
Jesu salvator by Anonymous
Performer:  Leigh Nixon (Tenor)
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Medieval 
9.
A solis ortus cardine by Anonymous
Performer:  Leigh Nixon (Tenor)
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Medieval 
10.
To many a well by Anonymous
Performer:  Stephen Charlesworth (Baritone), Julian Podger (Tenor), Leigh Nixon (Tenor)
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Medieval 
Written: 15th Century; England 
11.
Sancta Maria virgo by Anonymous
Performer:  Steven Harrold (Tenor), Julian Podger (Tenor), Leigh Nixon (Tenor)
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Medieval 
Written: 15th Century; England 
12.
Mater ora filium by Anonymous
Performer:  Catherine King (Alto), Julian Podger (Tenor), Donald Greig (Baritone)
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Medieval 
Written: 14th Century; England 
13.
Ave maris stella by Anonymous
Performer:  Donald Greig (Baritone)
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Medieval 
14.
Beata mater, MB 42 by John Dunstable
Performer:  Donald Greig (Baritone), Catherine King (Alto), Julian Podger (Tenor)
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 15th Century; England 
15.
Pange lingua gloriosi by Anonymous
Performer:  Leigh Nixon (Tenor)
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Medieval 

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 - TRY IT FREE!
Listen to all your favorite classical music for only $20/month.
Sign up for your monthly subscription service and get unlimited access to the most comprehensive digital catalog of classical music in the world - new releases. bestsellers, advanced releases and more.
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In