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Visitatio Sepulchri - The Easter Drama / Schola Gregoriana

Release Date: 10/05/2004 
Label:  Tactus   Catalog #: 100007   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Schola GregorianaOktoechos Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

I reviewed the first four discs in this numerical series, so I wonder why the next two numbers have been skipped. Of the three choirs heard on those discs, I was particularly taken with the singing of Lanfranco Menga’s group on TC 100003 in a Mass for the translation to Venice of the relics of St. Mark along with other late-medieval chants. Now he turns to Padua and Cividale, northern Italian cities where dramatic representations of the sacred mysteries were often attached to liturgical celebrations. This disc focuses on the Good Friday service and the Easter vigil.

The Good Friday service includes the familiar liturgical veneration of the Cross and the locally popular Planctus Mariae (Mary’s lament). The Easter vigil places
Read more the dialogue of “who will roll back the stone?” between a responsory and an antiphon, followed by the hymn of thanksgiving, Te Deum. The disc concludes with the Sunday processional Salve festa dies, including some verses from the Gallican poem by Venantius Fortunatus that are not printed in modern hymnals.

While most of the elements are familiar, the disc is programmed in a novel way. The standard text Popule meus is sung to unfamiliar late-medieval polyphony before the familiar Improperia are sung. The singing of the chants is exceptional in its tonal beauty, while adhering to semiological principles. The Te Deum is unusually slow, and the psalm verses at the end (regarded as a later addition by purists) are omitted. Salve festa dies is an unfamiliar variant of the usual melody. As a local variant of the usual repertoire, then, this is a fine disc.

J. F. Weber, FANFARE
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Works on This Recording

Visitatio sepulchri by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Schola Gregoriana,  Oktoechos Ensemble
Period: Medieval 

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