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Ferrabosco: Psalm 103, Etc / Van Nevel, Huelgas Ensemble


Release Date: 09/13/2005 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi   Catalog #: 901874   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Alfonso Ferrabosco
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 1 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


You have to wonder why it's taken so long for a world-class ensemble to devote a recording to the choral music of Alfonso Ferrabosco (1543-1588). Sure, his travels back and forth across Europe, the court intrigues, the scuffles with various royal and church authorities in England and Italy, his flight to France, his arrest in Bologna and the subsequent intervention by Catherine de Médicis may be worthy of a novel or film all on their own, but Ferrabosco's music, much of it written while in England for both sacred and secular purposes, is quite fine, more than equal to that of several of his more illustrious contemporaries. And after all, anyone who influenced the style of Byrd and Tallis
Read more deserves scrutiny, if only to determine how extensively his own style--and thus, that of his English followers--was affected by his Italian roots.


The opening work, Dolci ire ("Sweet angers"), is an ideal example of Ferrabosco's art. Although it's a madrigal, it's far from what we recognize as the Italian style characterized by Monteverdi or Caccini or Vecchi (although we do hear such an example later in Bruna sei tu ma bella--"You are dark but beautiful"). Rather, it presents a refined exterior with lovely, naturally flowing harmonies, straightforward rhythms, and beautifully designed, well-defined melodic lines that easily could exist in the context of a sacred motet. But careful listening reveals much more, including subtle dissonances, stealthy harmonic shifts and modulations, and facile rhythmic changes. We also can appreciate Ferrabosco as a master of melody who is skilled at creating chill-inducing, vibrant vocal harmonies, especially at important climaxes and endings. The sacred works, headed by the substantial Psalm 103, are equally impressive for their characterful text settings, sincere expression, uninhibited polyphony, and solid, satisfying homophonic passages.


The program's highlights include the Psalm's final "Cantate Domino" section and the motet Domine, non secundum peccata nostra, which, along with the opening Dulci ire is an unqualified masterpiece of the genre. Paul Van Nevel's Huelgas Ensemble is a perfect advocate for these works--and for this composer--delivering each piece with fine-tuned vocalism and articulate expression, embodied in warm, clear, well-balanced sound in a comfortably resonant acoustic. Ferrabosco wrote dozens of motets, Lamentations, and madrigals, most of them still waiting their introduction to modern listeners. Perhaps this release will urge others to join in the re-discovery of a composer truly worthy of the effort. [9/2/2005]
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Dolci ire by Alfonso Ferrabosco
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
2.
Auprès de vous by Alfonso Ferrabosco
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
3.
In Nomine no 1 by Alfonso Ferrabosco
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
4.
Peccantem me quotidie by Alfonso Ferrabosco
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
5.
Benedic anima mea Domino by Alfonso Ferrabosco
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
6.
Bruna sei tu, ma bella by Alfonso Ferrabosco
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
7.
Domine, non secundum peccata nostra by Alfonso Ferrabosco
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
8.
Quel sempre acerbo by Alfonso Ferrabosco
Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 

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