Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

For the past five years or so I've posted reviews of classical music CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays, in various places on the web: Amazon.com, iTunes and other sites. I'll collect those earlier reviews, and add four or five new ones every month.

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Life-affirming Music

From October 3, 2015:


This is the fourth and penultimate disc in Scott Metcalfe’s critically acclaimed series Music from the Peterhouse Partbooks, with his Boston-based choir Blue Heron. The New Yorker critic Alex Ross has called their singing ‘precise and fluid, immaculate and alive.’ Those qualities are enhanced by the space in which this splendid music was recorded, the Gothic-style Church of the Redeemer in Chestnut Hill MA, and the excellent sound production and engineering that’s a key quality of this series. There’s no fall-off in musical quality as the series nears its end. Robert Jones’ Missa Spes rostra is a major work from a composer who very existence is known to us only through the Peterhouse Partbooks. Jones’ Magnificat was one of the highlights of the first disc in this series, and this Mass shares its profundity and its beauty. The music of Nicholas Ludford is so appealing; Metcalfe, in his fine liner notes, calls it ‘genial and ebullient.’ Ludford’s Ave jujus conceptio is a joyful celebration of the life and Assumption of the Virgin Mary. The movements that make up this hour’s worth of music are ardent or contemplative, but always life affirming.

Here is the Credo from "Missa Spes nostra" by Robert Jones (fl. c. 1520-35):

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