SOUL-PENETRATING MUSIC FROM PENALOSA PERFORMED PASSIONATELY BY PRO CANTIONE!
Francisco de Penalosa (1470-1528). His music is most preserved in Hispanic or Portuguese manuscripts. It is reasonable to suppose that the considerable body of his music, six masses,six Magnificats,sets of Lamentations, various mass movements, Office hymns and a variety of motets date mainly from an active composing period of some twenty years in Aragonese court circle.
These motets, some with liturgical texts(for example:'Pater noster' and 'Ave regina'), others devotional like'Adoro te',extraliturgical funerary, such as 'Versa est in luctum','over-the-top' late medieval hyperbole (O Domina sanctissima), exaggerated bloodiness (Precor te), all 22 of them, have not a note of lively rejoicing. Yet, within each, even the very few that are a little dull and awkward, there is a tremendous variety. The textures and the sonorities , the mixtures of sharp declamation, soft slow chords and soaring melismas, are varied endlessly and mixed from piece to piece within an individual motet.
This recording is recommended as an anthology to be sampled rather than always heard end to end.
The Pro Cantione Antiqua, with its all male voices, to my thinking ,is the best group possible for recording this type of music. There is some very great singing going on in this recording. There are only seven in the group, the lead singers being Michael Chance (countertenor) and Ian Partridge (tenor) and they are just so wonderful to hear. I would add to that Michael George on bass who carries the perfect 'light' bass line throughout. These 3 voices sing most of the time and their rendition of 'Ave, verum corpus natum' and 'Nigra sum, sed formosa' is ethereal and profoundly moving. And I did listen to this disc non-stop and found it so engrossing with the lovely melodies of Penalosa.
Bruno Turner has done a superb job of pulling this all together. The singers are skilled having excellent diction, beautiful tone quality, perfect harmonic balance and proper emotional investment. The group is comprised of the following outstanding singers: Michael Chance ,Timothy Penrose(countertenors)-James Griffett, Ian Partridge (tenors)-Stephen Roberts (baritone) and Michael George, Adrian Peacock (basses).
GRAMOPHONE MAGAZINE: "Marvellously poetic music...a record of rare dinstinction"
TO THE NEGATIVE VOTER: How can you in all good conscience give a 'no' to this review? Why don't you comment INTELLIGENTLY AS TO ITS FAULTS? Maybe because you didn't even read it and you are simply 'grinding axes' or just plain bored with life and this type of activity gives you your 'highs' for the day. Did you happen to notice that it is the ONLY review for this CD???