Palestrina: Stabat mater; Recordare; Magnificat

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Palestrina
LABELS: Collins
WORKS: Stabat mater; Recordare; Magnificat
PERFORMER: Choir of New College, Oxford/Edward Higginbottom
CATALOGUE NO: 15092
This programme of Palestrina provides Collins with the fourth volume in its excellent series ‘Renaissance Masterpieces’. Palestrina’s Masses have been frequently if not always well provided for on disc, so this sequence of shorter, comparatively unfamiliar pieces is all the more welcome. Among them are strikingly beautiful polychoral settings of the Magnificat and the justly acclaimed Stabat mater; but, hardly on a lesser creative plane are the eight-part Nunc dimittis, and an expressively restrained Lamentation for Holy Week dating from the later years of Palestrina’s life.

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The Choir of New College, Oxford, is on splendid form, with an even brighter edge than usual in the treble lines and sounding more continental than ever. Higginbottom directs with a fluency that reflects the music’s structures and emotional content alike. The New College Chapel acoustics have been admirably captured. Nicholas Anderson