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Pilgrimage To Santiago / Gardiner, Et Al


Release Date: 11/14/2006 
Label:  Soli Deo Gloria Records   Catalog #: 701   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  AnonymousTomás Luis de VictoriaGiovanni PalestrinaCristóbal de Morales,   ... 
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



PILGRIMAGE TO SANTIAGO John Eliot Gardiner, cond; Monteverdi Ch SOLI DEO GLORIA 701 (78:08 & )


Music of MORALES, PALESTRINA, DUFAY, VICTORIA, MOUTON, CLEMENS NON PAPA, LASSUS


This is a disc whose value goes beyond the subject or the contents of the program. It has an appeal far greater than many other discs that focus on the pilgrim road to Santiago, the shrine to St. James the apostle at the Read more northwest tip of Spain. The contents are not much like the other discs, for there are only six selections from the Codex Calixtenus (the two most familiar selections along with four chants less familiar) and one from the Llibre Vermell . The rest are motets spanning Renaissance Europe along with one of the most frequently recorded masses of Victoria, Missa O quam gloriosum (lacking the Credo).


What makes the disc special is the circumstances of its creation. The Monteverdi Choir made the pilgrimage from a point in southwest France that brought them first to Conques, then to other churches along the way, where they stopped to sing these works of sacred music. They started on foot wearing stout boots, but sooner or later they were riding a motor coach the rest of the way. Some members kept diaries, and while Gardiner tells the story of a journey that continues a scheme he has indulged for several years now (the Bach cantata tour being the most acclaimed), the diary excerpts of five singers convey the experience much more eloquently. (More can be found on their Web site.) They felt the road under their feet and heard the response of their audiences, sometimes numbering in the thousands. They had made a recording (“Santiago a cappella”) before they began, but it never arrived for review. Sometime after they returned to London, they made this recording in the space of three days, the music in their hearts as well as their voices, the experience still fresh in their minds.


All of this is audible, palpable, in the playback. It reminds me of the Archiv engineers who spent Holy Week recording the Greek Orthodox services on Mount Athos (3:1). They lived a rugged monastic life while they were there, noting that “only by adopting this ascetical way of life one is led to realize how the magnificence of these liturgical ceremonies bring home the reality of the Resurrection.” To which I added, “But that is precisely the idea!” The program flows from chant to polyphony and back, the selections chosen with rare insight. Most apt is Dufay’s isorhythmic motet Rite majorem , written for Robert Auclou, the curate of St. Jacques de la Boucherie, the church in the center of Paris where the pilgrims assembled to begin their journey. (Only a tower still stands on the Right Bank alongside the Seine.) Other selections more generally represent the pilgrims from Germany and Italy by music of Lassus and Palestrina. Morales and Victoria were Spanish composers who worked in Rome, also, and the Flemish composers remind us of the Capilla Flamenca that came to the Spanish court of Charles V. “There can be no doubt that many of these canonic works of the Renaissance found their way to and were performed at Santiago Cathedral,” a loose conclusion that accounts for the contents of the program.


Never mind. For these 24 pilgrim singers, the music expresses the spirit of Santiago as it was felt a millennium ago as much as today among the pilgrims, some of whom showed up regularly at the periodic concerts that the group gave along the way. This well-filled disc conveys a sense of occasion as is rarely heard in studio recordings and not always in live or archival issues, either. The packaging is unique, a bound booklet of the same size as the usual case, the cover impressed with the scallop shell (which explains “coquilles St. Jacques” on French menus) that identified the pilgrim. This is a treasure, not to be missed.


FANFARE: J. F. Weber
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Works on This Recording

1. Dum pater familias by Anonymous
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi Choir
Period: Medieval 
2. Congaudeant catholici by Anonymous
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi Choir
Period: Medieval 
3. Psallat chorus celestium by Anonymous
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi Choir
Period: Medieval 
4. Codex Calixtinus: O venerande Christi apostole by Anonymous
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi Choir
Period: Medieval 
Written: 12th Century; Spain 
5. O lux et decus hispaniae by Tomás Luis de Victoria
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1583 
6. Missa "O quam gloriosum" by Tomás Luis de Victoria
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1583; Spain 
7. O quam gloriosum by Tomás Luis de Victoria
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1572; Spain 
8. Vadam, et circumibo civitatem by Tomás Luis de Victoria
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi Choir
Written: pub 1572 
9. Jesu Rex admirabilis by Giovanni Palestrina
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Italy 
10. Parce mihi domine by Cristóbal de Morales
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century 
11. Nesciens mater virgo virum by Jean Mouton
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: France 

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