Andy Gill from The Independent recently reviewed two of our February releases. You may have come across them on the newspaper’s website but if not, you can read them below.
Masterpieces of Renaissance Polyphony, 5 stars
During the great religious battles of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, music was one of the subtler, but most effective, weapons in the clergies’ arsenal.
This anthology of choral works represents some of the highlights of the Catholic response to the more functional music favoured by Luther, with due eminence paid to Palestrina, father of renaissance polyphony. His “Peccantem me quotidie” has the sombre penitential tone appropriate for Lent, and along with Lotti’s moving meditation on Christ’s suffering “Crucifixus” shows that Catholics could be just as austere as Protestants. More jubilant are the cascading lines of two interleaving choirs in Victoria’s “Lauda Sion”. AG
Berio’s Sequenzas III and VII, 4 stars
Recorded in 1969 with the Juilliard Ensemble, which he founded while teaching there, these chamber works illustrate Berio’s postwar development.
There’s something comfortingly modernist about the early-50s piano and violin duets of Due Pezzi and the settings of James Joyce poems that comprise Chamber Music, which find his wife, Cathy Berberian, in restrained mood. But it is Différences, composed for five instruments playing alongside tape treatments of themselves, that most impresses here: always lively and inquisitive, the breezy interplay of wind, harp and strings flourishing while never baulking at the more astringent discordancies. AG
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