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BBC Music Magazine
5 Stars
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'...it flows beautifully and has immense emotional intensity…It's a wonderful recording.’
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Magnificat - Scattered Ashes - All Music


01 March 2016
All Music
James Manheim
4½ Stars

This sumptuous two-disc Renaissance choral release by the group Magnificat finds a nifty way of tying together repertory by diverse composers without reference to liturgy or purely musical considerations.Girolamo Savonarola (1452-1498) was a Dominican friar of Renaissance Florence who railed against papal corruption and was tortured and killed for his trouble; the scattered ashes of the title refer to the disposition of his corpse, which was cremated so that it could not serve as a rallying point for his admirers. During his imprisonment, Savonarola composed meditations on biblical texts, and it is these, more or less distant from psalms and other biblical sources, that are set here. The most famous of them, Infelix ego (Unhappy I), is set twice, by Orlande de Lassus and William Byrd, and a comparison of these two gives a feel for the deep resonances of the album. The lengthy texts are deployed against multi-section motets. Sample Tristitia obsedit me (CD one, track three), by Claude Le Jeune, a composer usually known for rather academic French chansons, which sets and focuses Savonarola's melancholy text with great power. This recording marks the 25th anniversary of the 16-voice choir Magnificat, and it's a worthy commemoration; they balance inwardness with text-centered singing and profound lyrical beauty. Highly recommended.


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