Magnificat - The Tudors At Prayer - Sinfini Music
04 June 2014Sinfini Music
and also seduction to Magnificat's recording of Tudor church music, says Andrew
Mention of the Tudors calls to mind extremes
of lust and piety, politics and prayer. The family's vaulting ambitions
upturned the established order of things, severing ancient ties with the Roman
Catholic church and rewriting religious practice. Tudor composers managed to
navigate the English Reformation's testing twists and turns with extraordinary
skill and no little courage, creating works for the old Latin rite long after
it had been outlawed.
While several pieces
on Magnificat's latest album, William Mundy's sublime Vox patris caelestismonumental
among them, date from the years of Mary Tudor's Catholic counter-reformation,
there is also room for two Latin masterworks by Tallis and Byrd from the Protestant age of Elizabeth
Philip Cave and his
seasoned singers allow this music to breathe naturally. They make a terrific
job of Robert White's Tota
pulchra es, the seductive sounds of which soar above a solid
plainsong tune, and project the tonal richness of Taverner's Quemadmodum desiderat cervus.
The performance style is light on dynamic contrast, too light for my taste in
White's Domine, quis habitabit.
But Magnificat's unwavering focus, flawless intonation and subtle phrasing
bring energy and life to the often convolute lines of music conceived to
intensify spiritual contemplation.
Related LinksMagnificatThe Tudors At Prayer