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Pergolesi: Miserere; Bassano, A. & G. Gabrieli / Rose, Magdalen College Choir


Release Date: 03/10/2011 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 430359  
Composer:  Giovanni BassanoGiovanni GabrieliAndrea GabrieliGiovanni Battista Pergolesi
Performer:  Richard GowmanRogers Covey-CrumpIlse WolfDavid James,   ... 
Conductor:  Bernard Rose
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Magdalen College Choir OxfordWren Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 11 Mins. 

Special Order: This CD requires additional production time and ships within 2-3 business days.  

This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

I hadn't heard this setting of the Miserere before. Bernard Rose, the director and author of a succinct note, draws attention to the fact that, like so many other pieces, this one has been thought to have been wrongly attributed to Pergolesi. Stylistically, Bernard Rose argues, there are too many points of similarity between the Miserere and Pergolesi's celebrated Stabat Mater for them to have been written by different composers. I found the similarities striking, too, especially in the earlier numbers of the Miserere which is, by the way, a very attractive work. It comprises 15 sections in which solos, ensembles and choruses succeed one another. The date of composition isn't known but since Pergolesi's life was singularly brief (1710.1736) Read more we have a very good idea within a decade or so.

There are many good points about this performance not the least of which is the presence of a fine quartet of soloists; I was especially pleased to hear Ilse Wolf, again; her impeccable musicianship is an asset and her voice sounds as fresh and youthful as ever. David James (alto), Rogers Covey-Crump (tenor) and Richard Suart (bass) sing their solos well and are nicely blended in ensemble. The Magdalen College Choir also make the right sort of contribution though I wish they had made just a little bit more of their choruses; there is also a tendency for the altos to overemphasize the penultimate notes of their phrases. It's a mannerism common among English cathedral and chapel choirs but I find it too obtrusive for comfort and musically unnecessary. The movements are well contrasted, rhythmically, texturally and in respect of colour; particularly striking, perhaps, is the trio, "Sacrificium Deo" with its pizzicato accompaniment, and the soprano solo, "Benigne fac", to which an obbligato oboe is added. The remainder of the work is for strings and organ continuo, ably executed by the Wren Orchestra and the organ scholar Simon Lawford respectively.

A rewarding issue, by-and-large, and one which should make wide appeal. The recording is clear, though perhaps not quite as immediate as it might have been, and my pressing was adequate. Full texts in Latin and English are included on the reverse cover of the sleeve.

-- Gramophone [8/1980]
reviewing the Pergolesi Miserere on LP

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With the exception of Giovanni Gabrieli's famous Hodie Chrislus natus est, all these pieces seem to be making their debut on record, and a fine selection of works they are. Following Magdalen's previous issue of Venetian sacred music (ZRG859, 4/77), this record further explores the work of Andrea Gabrieli, a man who in his day was just as famous as his nephew Giovanni. Among the most successful pieces here are his Sancta et immaculata, a rich work given a liquid and well balanced rendering by the choir alone, and two ricercars played with deft precision by Richard Cowman. Particularly welcome novelties from Giovanni include his inventive three-choir Plaudite and his deep-hued Diligam te.

One of the pieces has organ backing and three have the support of trombones though it is probably true that ideally there should be cornetts as well. In general the choir is much better controlled and much clearer than I have sometimes heard it, and the sunshine of late Renaissance Venice (if I may put it like that) is clearly portrayed even though the sound of the voices is very much within the English college choir tradition. The recorded quality is satisfactory.

-- Gramophone [4/1978]
reviewing the Bassano and Gabrieli works on LP
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Works on This Recording

1. Ave Regina by Giovanni Bassano
Performer:  Richard Gowman (Organ)
Conductor:  Bernard Rose
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Magdalen College Choir Oxford
Period: Renaissance 
2. Hodie Christus natus est by Giovanni Gabrieli
Performer:  Richard Gowman (Organ)
Conductor:  Bernard Rose
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Magdalen College Choir Oxford
Period: Renaissance 
3. Plaudite by Giovanni Gabrieli
Performer:  Richard Gowman (Organ)
Conductor:  Bernard Rose
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Magdalen College Choir Oxford
Period: Renaissance 
4. Virtute magna by Giovanni Gabrieli
Performer:  Richard Gowman (Organ)
Conductor:  Bernard Rose
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Magdalen College Choir Oxford
Period: Renaissance 
5. Laudate Dominum by Andrea Gabrieli
Performer:  Richard Gowman (Organ)
Conductor:  Bernard Rose
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Magdalen College Choir Oxford
Period: Renaissance 
6. Miserere by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
Performer:  Rogers Covey-Crump (Tenor), Ilse Wolf (Soprano), David James (Countertenor),
Simon Lawford (Organ), Richard Suart (Baritone)
Conductor:  Bernard Rose
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wren Orchestra,  Magdalen College Choir Oxford
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 

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