Author Topic: Palestrina's Papal Palace of Polyphony  (Read 1125 times)

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Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Palestrina's Papal Palace of Polyphony
« on: November 09, 2016, 03:12:01 PM »

No thread for this composer yet? Then let this be his new home!

Classical CD Of The Week: From The Sistine Chapel, Palestrina Populism

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2016/11/02/classical-cd-of-the-week-from-the-sistine-chapel-palestrina-populism/#32eaf0186dce


What’s the deal here? Palestrina is an amazing Renaissance composer and this recording is much welcome, but isn’t acapella early music a little high-brow for the 21st century everything-is-crossover DG label? Worry not, populism was built-in, here, too:

Offline GioCar

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Re: Palestrina's Papal Palace of Polyphony
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2016, 09:34:46 PM »
Nice thread title.

I'm collecting the CORO series (The Sixteen and Harry Christophers) of his works.
Some magnificent recordings!

Offline San Antone

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Re: Palestrina's Papal Palace of Polyphony
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2017, 08:35:08 AM »
Aside from one thread on recommended recordings of the Missa Papae Marcelli, there was no composer thread for Palestrina.

Fixed.  ;)



He ranks with Lassus and Byrd as one of the towering figures in the music of the late 16th century. He was primarily a prolific composer of masses and motets but was also an important madrigalist. Among the native Italian musicians of the 16th century who sought to assimilate the richly developed polyphonic techniques of their French and Flemish predecessors, none mastered these techniques more completely or subordinated them more effectively to the requirements of musical cogency. His success in reconciling the functional and aesthetic aims of Catholic church music in the post-Tridentine period earned him an enduring reputation as the ideal Catholic composer, as well as giving his style (or, more precisely, later generations’ selective view of it) an iconic stature as a model of perfect achievement. (Grove)

Under its last three directors (David Hill and James O'Donnell preceded Baker), the Westminster Cathedral Choir has recorded a series of Palestrina Masses that rank with the finest recordings on the market. Their superiority derives from interpretive insight added to the superb sound of a cathedral choir of men and boys, one that is small enough to match the precision and flexibility of a professional vocal ensemble, enhanced by a treble sound that seems ideal in the varied world of cathedral-choir vocal production. The list of their recorded Palestrina Masses ranges from the most beloved works to several not recorded before or since.

Harry Chrisophers and The Sixteen have recorded plenty of Palestrina as well: a six volume series as well as other single discs. 

The Tallis Scholars are also known for their Palestrina.

Here's where we discuss the masses (he wrote over 100) and other works by arguably the greatest Renaissance sacred polyphonic composer.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2017, 08:47:06 AM by sanantonio »

Offline Ken B

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Re: Palestrina's Papal Palace of Polyphony
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2017, 10:35:01 AM »
Good idea!
Give a man a fire and he is warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he is warm for life.

Offline San Antone

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Re: Palestrina's Papal Palace of Polyphony
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2017, 01:50:18 PM »
A couple more larger collections of Palestrina:

A 5-CD box from Brilliant

Palestrina: Masses; Lamentations of Jeremiah & Stabat Mater
Pro Cantione Antiqua



Pro Cantione Antiqua is an all-male group and sings Palestrina in a relaxed but very spiritual manner, imo.  I love it, although some people don't.  It can be had for very cheap, still.

Anther collection, a 2-CD set

Palestrina: Masses and Motets
King's College Choir, Philip Ledger



Classic choir sound, Philip Ledger was a legend  ;)  and this set is a great one to have.  Mary Berry worked on training the singers in chant, and brings the level of these performances up a notch or two.


Offline San Antone

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Re: Palestrina's Papal Palace of Polyphony
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2017, 08:42:19 AM »
I just purchased the three collections of masses released by Marco Longhini and Delitiae Musicae



These are solo voices singing the masses in an intimate expressive manner, which I find to be my favorite way with Palesdtrina.

There are three basic kinds of recordings of the masses:

Small - OVPP groups, e.g. Pro Cantione Antiqua, Marco Longhini and Sergio Vartolo
Medium - 12-18 member vocal ensemble, e.g. Harry Christophers and The Sixteen, Tallis Scholars
Large - Traditional choral choir, e.g. Choir of Westminster Cathedral

All have their positive aspects and one really needs to invest in all of them in order to acquire as many of the masses as possible.

Which is also why I went out and spent a small fortune on getting these three recordings from the 1990s by Sergio Vartolo.  Really, if I only wanted to hear the music, two of the three (vols. II and III) are on NML, only the first volume is not available either as CD or download.  But I also wanted to own them since I may not always have access to NML.



It can get confusing since Vartolo also have three CDs on Naxos of Palestrina masses, one with the same name, Beata Virgine, as there  are on these three OOP recordings.  But these are different masses and performances.  While the singing has been praised my only qualm is the inclusion of the organ, albeit very sensitively played and never overwhelming the voices, but still I much prefer the voices unaccompanied.

Add these to my other Palestrina recordings and I am a good way along to getting all of the available masses on record.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2017, 08:46:18 AM by sanantonio »

Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Palestrina's Papal Palace of Polyphony
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2017, 09:44:50 PM »
Aside from one thread on recommended recordings of the Missa Papae Marcelli, there was no composer thread for Palestrina.


That isn't actually correct -- it's just that it wasn't listed in the index. We've very much got

Palestrina's Papal Palace of Polyphony
here! :-)

P.S. Thanks for shifting & consolidating!