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Hugh Aston: Three Marian Antiphons / Blue Heron

Aston / Jones / Mason
Release Date: 04/15/2014 
Label:  Blue Heron   Catalog #: 1002  
Composer:  Hugh AstonJohn MasonRobert Jones
Conductor:  Scott Metcalfe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Blue Heron
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Copied in 1540 for Canterbury Cathedral, which had just been refounded as a secular cathedral following Henry VIII's dissolution of the monastic cathedrals, the Peterhouse partbooks contain seventy-two works for five voices in the major liturgical forms of the day-principally Mass, Magnificat, and votive antiphon. Despite the enormous importance of this source to music history and the extremely high quality of much of the music contained in it, it has received short shrift from performers and musicologists alike, owing to the fact that the tenor partbook, along with a portion of the treble, has been missing for centuries. This has prevented singers from performing the fifty pieces in the partbooks that survive complete in no other Read more source-until recently, that is. Blue Heron's performances of the incomplete Peterhouse music rely on reconstructions by the English musicologist Nick Sandon, who over the course of his career has devoted much of his creative energies to the project. Sandon completed his dissertation on the partbooks in 1983, including reconstructions of almost all of the incomplete music. Over the nearly three decades since, he has been refining and revising his completions and issuing them in Antico Edition.

Blue Heron has made the Peterhouse repertoire a specialty ever since its first concerts in 1999, in which the ensemble performed Aston's Ave Maria dive matris Anne, the opening track of the new disc. It is safe to say that Blue Heron has sung more of Nick Sandon's tenor lines than any other ensemble in North America, and never in ten years has any one in the group felt that a note he composed felt wrong. His quite amazing accomplishment is to have recreated a musical line that is utterly idiomatic, not merely to the general language of English music in the early sixteenth century, but to the local dialect and accent of one composer and, even more specifically, to that one composer's voice as heard in one piece in all its particularity. We-and Aston and Jones and Mason and all the other Peterhouse composers-owe him grateful thanks for restoring this marvelous music to us in singable form.

The CD booklet includes extensive notes by Nick Sandon on the Peterhouse partbooks, their place in history, and the process of restoring the missing music, as well detailed information concerning historical performance practice by Scott Metcalfe.

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Works on This Recording

1.
Ave Maria dive matris Anne by Hugh Aston
Conductor:  Scott Metcalfe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Blue Heron
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
2.
Gaude, virgo mater Christi by Hugh Aston
Conductor:  Scott Metcalfe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Blue Heron
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
3.
Quales sumus O miseri by John Mason
Conductor:  Scott Metcalfe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Blue Heron
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
4.
Magnificat by Robert Jones
Conductor:  Scott Metcalfe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Blue Heron
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
5.
Ave Maria ancilla trinitatis by Hugh Aston
Conductor:  Scott Metcalfe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Blue Heron
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 

Sound Samples

Ave Maria divae matris
Magnificat
Gaude virgo mater Christi
Quales sumus: O miseri
Ave Maria ancilla

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