Gabrieli Consort And Players - Christmas In Rome: Palestrina's Hodie Christus Natus Est

Monday 1st August 1994
Gabrieli Consort And Players - Christmas In Rome: Palestrina's Hodie Christus Natus Est

STYLE: Choral
RATING 5 5 5 5 5
LABEL: Archiv 43788332

Reviewed by John Irvine

Way back in CR17 (Oct '93) I gave the Gabrieli Consort's previous offering, 'Venetian Vespers', 9/10. Like 'Venetian Vespers' the intent has been to recreate a worship service, in this case the Third Christmas Mass as it might have been celebrated in the church of Santa Maria Maggiore around 1620. The performance is centred around Palestrina's famous Christmas Mass "Hodie Christus Natus Est" - but this is not given to us in one lump; instead the Mass is used in the proper places of the liturgy, with music by other outstanding composers of the period brought in for other points of the service. However, despite a strong start with an unbeatable performance of Josquin Desprez's motet "Praeter Rerum Seriem" and the inclusion of Gregorian chant for the responses, this collection fails to grasp the imagination in the same way that 'Venetian Vespers' did. One is not enthralled, enchanted or excited by this collection despite the high quality of the musical material, the performances and the recording. Instead of an act of worship consisting of 20 pieces of music we are left with a disjointed collection of sound bites rather than something more substantial. Most disappointing.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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