WORKS: Mass Cantate Domino
PERFORMER: Cappella Nova/Alan Tavener
CATALOGUE NO: CD GAU 136 DDD
This is the latest in ASV’s range of Scottish early music recordings. The contribution by Alan Tavener’s group to this venture has been large: this is his fourth volume of Scottish Renaissance polyphony, and features a Mass probably by Robert Carver, Scotland’s greatest composer of the period, along with sacred works from lesser-known figures. The anonymous Mass Cantate Domino is musically related to Carver’s five-voice Mass Fera pessima, and is thought by Kenneth Elliott (the music’s editor and the author of the booklet notes) to have been Carver’s own reworking of the earlier music, this time for six voices.
Cappella Nova proves itself a match for the high technical demands made by the soaring treble lines and exposed solo sections, but Carver’s contemporaries fare even better. David Peebles’s motet Si quis diligit me is sung with care and passion, and his setting of Psalm 107 benefits from some engaging Scottish pronunciation (‘Frae East tae West, frae North tae Sooth…’). John Angus’s sturdy setting of the 12 Articles of Faith gets a similar treatment. Indeed, contemporary Scottish pronunciation is even reconstructed in the Latin settings. For these delights alone, this disc is worth hearing. Edward Kershaw