O VOS OMNES: Music for Lent and Holy Week • Kent Tritle, cond; St. Ignatius Loyola Ch • MSR MS 1138 (50:43 Text and Translation)
ANON Pange lingua. O homo considera. O homo de pulvere. Filiae Jerusalem. TALLIS Lamentations of Jeremiah. O sacrum convivium. BYRD Ave verum corpus. PALESTRINA Read more class="ARIAL12bi">Sicut cervus. VICTORIA O vos omnes. ALLEGRI Miserere mei, Deus
Of the multiplication of small vocal ensembles devoted to Renaissance polyphony there seems to be no end; but so long as they are of the high caliber of the Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola Church in New York, you will hear nothing but rejoicing from me. Composed of 15 singers in various combinations, with ladies singing both soprano and alto parts, this group produces a superbly blended sound of exquisite sweetness, lightness, and purity, that floats through the resonant spaces of the church’s recorded acoustic without the slightest trace of muddiness obscuring the clarity of individual vocal lines. The selections offered here, a combination of Gregorian chants and motets, are all texts for the penitential seasons of Lent and Holy Week in well-known settings. Before any readers of these lines roll their eyes and say, “Do we need yet another recording of the Allegri Miserere?” let me say that this one has now become a favorite of mine, due not only to the beauty and clarity of the ensemble’s sound but also to a brisk tempo that avoids the affectations in accent and distensions of vocal lines which have come to afflict so many other versions. The very brief booklet notes cover only the conductor and choir, not the music, but complete Latin-English texts are provided. Unhesitatingly recommended.