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Magnificat - Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina - Early Music Review


01 October 2001
Early Music Review
Noel O'Regan

Palestrina's cycle of motets from the Song of Songs comes from the peak of his career after his remarriage brought material security and with his standing at the papal court of Gregory XIII (to whom they were dedicated) at its height. This overdue release (it was recorded in 1995) does full justice to both the technical virtuosity and the exuberence of these pieces, providing a wonderfully honest one-per-part vocal rendering which allows the singers to enjoy Palestrina's really exceptional moments while keeping a certain restrained consistency over the whole cycle. Consistency is particularly important since it is a highly organised modal cycle; at the same time monotony must be avoided, as here, by highlighting those transcendent moments when Palestrina allows the text to dominate. The balance here is just right and I can thoroughly recommend this very fine recording.


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