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Cat. No. CHAN 0732 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 0732 - Palestrina: Offertoria
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Audio Sample

Available From: 01 February 2007
Few composers of the sixteenth century have attracted such myths about their output as Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina. For many, Palestrina was the epitome of Roman Catholic music: ‘a genius whose works breathes divine harmony, and enable us to sing in a style so truly sublime the praises of our Maker.’

With performances by the Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge, this recording concentrates on the offertories from Advent Sunday to Trinity Sunday, taken from Offertoria totius anni secundum Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae consuetudinem, published in 1593. Palestrina’s reverence for the liturgical role of music is expressed throughout his oeuvre and induces a sense of awe in the listener. These exquisite performances reveal the highly controlled polyphony for which Palestrina is so famous. The motets epitomise his restrained compositional style, features of which are the use of carefully prepared dissonance and discrete word painting.

The choir of Trinity College performs these absolute gems with conviction, integrity and tranquil beauty, making the disc a welcome addition to the catalogue.

I am especially impressed with the choir’s ability to adapt its delivery to the specific style of the music performed… Marlow has clearly taken great pains to project the expressive content of the motets with a careful shaping of dynamic gestures and articulation though there are no indications for these aspects of performance in the original sources. Sometimes the lines are delivered with great smoothness, and sometimes there is an energetic marking of the rhythms… Marlow never allows Palestrina to become perfunctory or bland, and this is a noteworthy achievement in a programme of 25 motets that were never intended to be heard at one setting.
American Record Guide

The beauty of the man’s music and his sheer inventive genius are what you’ll remember after listening to this album… the overall results are hard to resist.
Classic FM Magazine

Taken overall these are unfailingly sympathetic performances of music which is designed to serve a purpose rather than be listened to for its own sake. Coupled with Chandos’s warm recording and excellent booklet notes, this is a very worthwhile release indeed.
International Record Review

…this mixed choir of 30 voices is persuasive and confident and demonstrates clearly the variety and ingenuity of Palestrina’s compositional technique.
BBC Music Magazine

…natural territory for the Trinity College singers.
International Record Review on Duruflé.

A reflective performance throughout.
Gramophone on Mendelssohn

Reviews from previous releases:
The performances are robust yet sensitive… and the recorded sound is sumptuous. This is a triumph for Marlow and his Trinity College Choir, for Chandos, and, above all, for Mendelssohn’s reputation as an inventive and deeply rewarding composer of sacred choral pieces.

International Record Review on Mendelssohn

Though the choir numbers 27, the singing is light and flexible, capable of a wide dynamic range. The wider availability of this fine disc is welcome. I wonder if Chaconne will complete the set?


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