ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Canticum Canticorum
PERFORMER: Orchestra of the Renaissance/Richard Cheetham, Michael Noone
CATALOGUE NO: GCD 921403
The closer integration of secular and sacred styles in the Renaissance brought a rich layering of sexuality and religious expression that found its voice most evocatively in the music composed for Marian worship. The Song of Songs was the key Biblical source whose allegorical significance formed the inspiration for the pieces on this disc.
Richard Cheetham and the Orchestra of the Renaissance evidently feel an uncommon sympathy with this repertoire. They set the scene with an exquisitely seductive performance of Sebastián de Vivanco’s ‘Veni, dilecta mi’, where their incisive choral and instrumental blend provides a suitably opulent vehicle for this motet’s deliciously sensuous language. Morales’s Mass Vulnerasti cor meum (introduced by Févin’s motet on which it is based), is the centrepiece, the ensemble’s smooth melismata and contrapuntal clarity creating an elegant spiritual focus.
Interleaved between the Mass movements, Cheetham’s musicians perform a selection of choral and instrumental items that flesh out their illustration of music that is as satisfying for the mind as it is for the soul. Among the highlights are Victoria’s ‘Nigra sum’ and Guerrero’s ‘Ego flos campi’ (betraying influence from the Italian declamatory madrigal and Venetian polychoral textures), and the haunting cornett solo in Ceballos’s ‘Hortus conclusus’. Nicholas Rast