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Vol 2 Music from the Peterhouse Partbooks: Missa Regnum mundi
  • Label: Blue Heron Ren Choir
  • UPC: 885767427242
  • Item #: 297852X
  • Genre: Classical Artists
  • Release Date: 4/15/2014
Price: $18.66
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Vol 2 Music from the Peterhouse Partbooks: Missa Regnum mundi on CD

'But what polyphony this is! Even as a hardened reviewer and performer/director of polyphony (including several mass settings by Ludford), I was transported by the exquisite beauty of this Mass, and found myself sitting in semi-darkness luxuriating in the genius of Ludford's intertwining vocal lines. Pygott's enormous Salve regina, running in this recording to almost 23 minutes of intricate polyphony, is in the more conservative idiom of the Eton Choirbook and is given an equally intelligent and exquisitely unhurried performance. I cannot recommend this superb CD highly enough - it is the sort of recording to listen to in awe at the sustained and unerring skill of the performers and the burgeoning brilliance of the composers (and their unobtrusive editor), and to shed a quiet tear for the untold treasures that have been lost.' --- D. James Ross, Early Music Review (UK), October 2012 "This album and it's predecessor...are the beginning of an exciting series, more than hinting at the wealth of great sacred music written by English composers between roughly 1500 and marks in all respects: engineering, liner notes-by the group's director, Scott Metcalfe-and, of course, the performances themselves." --Barry Brenesal, Fanfare, Sept./Oct. 2012 The second installment in Blue Heron's 5-CD series of Music from the Peterhouse Partbooks features Nicholas Ludford's radiant Missa Regnum mundi, sung in a musical context like that of it's probable original occasion, a festal mass for St Margaret, with plainchant items from the Proper according to the Use of Salisbury. The disc concludes with Richard Pygott's extraordinary Salve regina, one of the longest votive antiphons extant and a marvel of rhetorical expression. This is the world premiere recording of all the music on the disc. The scholar David Skinner has called Ludford "one of the last unsung geniuses of Tudor polyphony." Ludford and Mason are almost completely unknown, but this series of recordings reveals these composers to be every bit the equal of the big names from the period such as Tallis and Taverner. Our understanding of English music from the early sixteenth century is grievously hindered by a historical tragedy, the destruction of most manuscripts of English sacred music during the religious upheavals of the 16th and 17th centuries. The Reformation regarded the florid music of late medieval Catholicism with disdain, if not outright hostility, and much was lost or deliberately destroyed by zealots. Fewer than ten significant sources survive from the period 1500-1547, much less than one might have found in just one well-stocked church music library at the time. The Peterhouse partbooks are the largest extant source and contain nearly 50 pieces not found complete anywhere else. 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 source-until recently, that is. Blue Heron's performances of the incomplete Peterhouse music rely on reconstructions by the English musicologist Nick Sandon, who has devoted his career to retoring this repertoire to it's rightfully prominent place. The CD booklet includes extensive notes by Scott Metcalfe on the Peterhouse partbooks, the music by Ludford and Pygott, and on the performance practice of music from the period. A detailed account by Nick Sandon of the Peterhouse partbooks, their place in history, and the process of restoring the missing music, may be found in the notes to the Volume 1 of the series, Hugh Aston: Three Marian Antiphons (BHCD 1002); the notes may also be read online or downloaded at Blue Heron's website, where you will also find links to more information on the project, including recorded interviews with Nick Sandon and Scott Metcalfe. Credits released 30 March 2012 Engineering and mastering: Joel Gordon (assistant: Livia Lin) Producer: Eric Milnes Editing: Eric Milnes & Joel Gordon Graphic design: Pete Goldlust & Melanie Germond Cover photo: Green Iguana (iguana iguana), Barro Colorado Island, Panama (Getty Images)