Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

"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.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Music for contemplation and/or devotion

The Lost Music of Canterbury: Music from the Peterhouse Partbooks

It's great to see this 5-CD compilation of the complete music from the Peterhouse Partbooks, recorded by Scott Metcalfe's amazing Boston-based choir Blue Heron between 2010 and 2017. I cottoned on to this music with the 4th disc in the series in 2015, and that recording of music by previously unheard composers Robert Jones, Nicholas Ludford and Robert Hunt was a Top 10 disc for me that year. The final disc, from 2017, was just as great, and also made the cut for my Top 10. I've been listening carefully to the first three discs to see what I had missed, and I once again loved what I was hearing: near perfection in singing, and an absolute miracle of musicology, since we were so terribly close to missing out on this music altogether. So much credit goes to Nick Sandon, who interpolated the missing tenor part; that shows what a near thing this was! Metcalfe and Blue Heron erase the centuries between the 15th and 16th and the 21st, in highly atmospheric recordings made at the Gothic-style Church of the Redeemer in Chestnut Hill MA. This is music for contemplation and/or devotion; whatever your spiritual leanings, it will surely lift your spirits!

This album will be released on October 5, 2018.

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