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Filia Sion / Jaan-eik Tulve, Vox Clamantis


Release Date: 07/10/2012 
Label:  Ecm   Catalog #: 001695602  
Composer:  AnonymousTraditionalPérotinHildegard of Bingen,   ... 
Conductor:  Jaan-Eik Tulve
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vox Clamantis Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Truly magical.

There’s not a great deal to be said about this disc, other than to attempt a description of luminous performances and a beautiful recording of some marvellous medieval music.
 
Vox Clamantis is an Estonian ensemble which has been around since 1996. They bring together all kinds of musicians who are interested in Gregorian chant as a basis for European music, and composers such as Arvo Pärt have written pieces for them. With such a fine vocal sound this is hardly surprising, and we have them here in the midst and essence of what it’s all about. The title Filia Sion or Daughter of Sion refers to the Virgin Mary, with which the Medieval Christian tradition identified as
Read more personifying the church and its deeper traditions.
 
The pure tones of the opening Ecce venit encapsulate what this music brings: open, clear melodic shapes which express an unmistakably devotional atmosphere. The sparing drone tone which underlies the closing minutes of this piece is something of which you are barely aware, but it is a magical effect… as are the momentary harmonisations in the following Virgo prudentissima / Magnificat. You can imagine being in the presence of such a phenomenon for the first time - expecting the usual single lines, and suddenly being overwhelmed and inspired by new dimensions of harmony. Like the sometimes fragmentary and tenuous relics and links which the present holds to this distant past, the changes and means of expression are of the utmost subtlety - intangible but present, musical ghosts waiting in the air for such voices to arrive and bring them to life once again.
 
This isn’t really a disc from which to pick highlights, but if you dive for the named composers you will hear some pretty special stuff. The Perotinus Beata viscera is another piece where the melody is sustained by a held underlying note - a line like a distant horizon, subtly coloured with quasi-Tibetan vocal overtone changes which at times follow the melodic line. Who knows if the monks did this, but you can bet they would have been after having heard this. Vocal lines gradually join in to create an almost free-form imitative texture which could go on forever, but is alas all too brief. Petrus Wilhemi de Grudencz’s Cantio provides some more lively two-part contrast with gorgeously soft cadences. Hildegard von Bingen is always a draw, and her celestially expressive vocal lines are beautifully in evidence with the Sequentia performed here, a female soloist floating ethereally over a gathering harmony below which once again generates those upper harmonic colourations - another truly magical effect. The final track Ma navu, is another utterly transcendent moment.
 
Seventy minutes of unaccompanied vocal Medieval openness and simplicity might not superficially seem to present much appeal, but if you have any kind of spiritual side to your nature then this recording will see it reinforced and reinvigorated. The variety in ensemble and timbre generates plenty of colour and contrast between the pieces, and while all of them have a familial similarity they are all different, and the inventive approach brought to some is truly inspiring. Production standards are to ECM’s usual superlative standards, and the booklet contains all texts with English translations, and there are informative notes.
 
-- Dominy Clements, MusicWeb International

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FILIA SION Jaan-Eik Tulve, dir; Vox Clamantis ECM NEW SERIES 2244 (71:07 Text and Translation)


Jaan-Eik Tulve is an Estonian chant scholar who studied chant conducting with Louis-Marie Vigne in the Choeur Grégorien de Paris, a chant schola that has trained chant directors in semiological interpretation for many years. He has recorded chant with several other choirs in addition to his own Estonian group, which he formed in 1996. Two earlier recordings with this group were issued on Arion. Many of his recordings can be found at chantdiscography.com (search: tulve).


The 15 tracks on this disc are mostly chants in honor of the Virgin Mary but later works are added, including the organum “Rex virginum” from Codex Las Huelgas, the familiar monophonic conductus “Beata viscera” of Perotinus (sung with drones), a cantio by Petrus Wilhelmi de Grudencz, and a Montpellier motet. The most unusual item is the concluding Jewish chant “Ma navu” from Cochin, a paraphrase of Isaiah. The last piece is included because the title of the disc, “Daughter of Zion,” is significant in both Hebrew and Christian writings, the latter using it to refer to the Virgin Mary. Among the valuable chants included here are an invitatory with the complete Psalm 94 (omitting the doxology), the offertory “Ave Maria” with both verses, and Hildegard’s “O ignis spiritus.”


The singing throughout is of surpassing serenity. The conductus of Perotinus is remarkable for this quality, but it extends to the entire program. The ensemble includes several women, but the monophonic lines are not sung in octaves. Solos are assigned judiciously to well-trained voices (a soprano in the Hildegard piece, for example). I usually favor tightly grouped chant programs, such as Mass Propers of a set of feasts, so a broader collection of chants requires compensating excellence of execution, interpretation, and thematic unity. This disc fits the latter bill superbly. Early-music collectors who are looking for something special spanning the earliest repertoire will find this a gratifying acquisition.


FANFARE: J. F. Weber

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Works on This Recording

1. Virgo prudentissima by Anonymous
Conductor:  Jaan-Eik Tulve
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vox Clamantis Ensemble
Period: Medieval 
2. The Play of Daniel: Ecce venit sanctus ille by Anonymous
Conductor:  Jaan-Eik Tulve
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vox Clamantis Ensemble
Period: Medieval 
Written: 13th Century 
3. Salve Regina by Anonymous
Conductor:  Jaan-Eik Tulve
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vox Clamantis Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
4. Las Huelgas Codex: Rex virginum amator by Anonymous
Conductor:  Jaan-Eik Tulve
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vox Clamantis Ensemble
Period: Medieval 
Written: circa 1300; Spain 
5. Gloria by Anonymous
Conductor:  Jaan-Eik Tulve
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vox Clamantis Ensemble
Period: Medieval 
6. Gaudeamus by Anonymous
Conductor:  Jaan-Eik Tulve
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vox Clamantis Ensemble
Period: Medieval 
7. Exulta satis filia Sion by Anonymous
Conductor:  Jaan-Eik Tulve
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vox Clamantis Ensemble
Period: Medieval 
8. Ave Maria by Anonymous
Conductor:  Jaan-Eik Tulve
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vox Clamantis Ensemble
Period: Medieval 
9. Audi filia (Graduale) by Anonymous
Conductor:  Jaan-Eik Tulve
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vox Clamantis Ensemble
Period: Medieval 
10. Agnus Dei by Anonymous
Conductor:  Jaan-Eik Tulve
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vox Clamantis Ensemble
Period: Medieval 
11. Montpellier Codex: O Maria by Anonymous
Conductor:  Jaan-Eik Tulve
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vox Clamantis Ensemble
12. Ma navu by Traditional
Conductor:  Jaan-Eik Tulve
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vox Clamantis Ensemble
13. Beata viscera by Pérotin
Conductor:  Jaan-Eik Tulve
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vox Clamantis Ensemble
Period: Medieval 
Written: circa 1200; France 
14. O ignee Spiritus by Hildegard of Bingen
Conductor:  Jaan-Eik Tulve
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vox Clamantis Ensemble
Period: Medieval 
Written: 12th Century; Germany 
15. Prelustri elucencia by Petrus Wilhelmi
Conductor:  Jaan-Eik Tulve
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vox Clamantis Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 15th Century; Pomerania (Poland/Ge 

Sound Samples

Ecce venit / Psalm 94
Virgo prudentissima / Magnificat
Gaudeamus
Rex virginum
Gloria
Beata viscera
Audi filia
Prelustri elucentia
Ave Maria
O ignis spiritus
Agnus Dei
Exulta filia Sion
O Maria
Salve regina
Ma navu

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