Lassus: Lagrime di San Pietro

£12.00

Orlande de Lassus, Europe’s most famous musician during his lifetime, created nothing finer than the Lagrime di San Pietro, a collection of twenty spiritual madrigals and one motet for seven voices; A cycle of intense reflections on the sorrows of St Peter following his denial of Christ, it was assembled shortly before the composer’s death in 1594 and dedicated to Pope Clement VIII. Into this collection Lassus pours every dramatic nuance and piece of harmonic invention he could possibly muster, hurling the listener through the stages of Peter’s rage, remorse and resignation, and concluding with a motet that presents Christ’s response to the world.

Gallicantus (Latin for ‘song of the rooster’) add to their already impressive catalogue of works on Signum with this new recording. Their previous release The Word Unspoken: Sacred Music by William Byrd and Philippe de Monte was picked as a critics’ choice disc 2012 by BBC Radio 3 CD Review. 

SKU: SIGCD339

What people are saying

"… It is nigh on impossible to put just how good this recording is into words, so I am going to stop trying, and just say this: this recording is something that absolutely must be experienced. You will not regret it at all." Recording of the Month, Musicweb International, April 2014

"Gallicantus’s robust and committed account will hearten those who fear for the future of this repertory on disc. The countertenors on the top lines are a vigorous alternative to women’s voices." Fabrice Fitch, Gramophone Magazine

"Gallicantus sing this cycle of sacred madrigals and its climactic motet with all the gravity and respect it requires as the major milestone in the development of art music that it was. Live, on a rainy Sunday afternoon at the Wigmore Hall, it was one of the most profound musical experiences of my year; on disc it comes almost as close." Caroline Gill, Gramophone, Highlights of 2014

Orlande de Lassus

Gallicantus, Gabriel Crouch

Release date:2nd Sep 2013
Order code:SIGCD339
Barcode: 635212033920

Gramophone Highlights of 2014

Gallicantus sing this cycle of sacred madrigals and its climactic motet with all the gravity and respect it requires as the major milestone in the development of art music that it was. Live, on a rainy Sunday afternoon at the Wigmore Hall, it was one of the most profound musical experiences of my year; on disc it comes almost as close. 

Caroline Gill, Gramophone

Gallicantus’s robust and committed account will hearten those who fear for the future of this repertory on disc. The countertenors on the top lines are a vigorous alternative to women’s voices.

Fabrice Fitch, Gramophone Magazine, June 2014

RECORDING OF THE MONTH

The ensemble Gallicantus is an all-male group known for skilful interpretations of music from the late Renaissance. Made up of just seven singers – including their director, Gabriel Crouch – they have already built a formidable reputation for bringing the Renaissance back to life through dynamic performance and intense interpretation.

I was delighted to find out that they had released this cycle of sacred madrigals and a motet by Orlande (or Roland) de Lassus, one of the best composers of the Renaissance. Composed in 1594, the Lagrime di San Pietro was to be the composer’s last work, and it was published posthumously in Munich in 1595. It’s a wonderful piece depicting St. Peter’s grief after the denial of Christ. Many excellent groups have recorded it including the Collegium Vocale Gent under Philippe Herreweghe and the Huelgas ensemble and Paul Van Nevel. I was excited to get listening to this version.
 
These madrigals are renowned for their spiritual and confessional tone. Lassus was no stranger to scandal, and he was mischievous and playful for most of his life – a fact that was well known throughout Europe even during his lifetime. The sequence is dedicated to Pope Clement VIII, and Lassus spoke of his ‘personal devotion in … burdensome old age’ in his dedication. The music is intensely poignant and reflective. As an expression of the depths of a man’s soul in the face of death, reaching and maintaining the right emotional tone from the start can be a difficult task indeed.
 
Gallicantus hit the nail straight on the head from the off. The ensemble, tuning and blend are phenomenal from the first chord, and never wanes. Whether moving in chords or counterpoint, the ensemble remain tight throughout, dealing with the technical demands not only with consummate ease, but also with an absolute level of artistry that deserves nothing but awe and respect. On top of this, the group engages with the music on an intense emotional level, and this is crystal clear throughout. This is magnified further still by the diction, the clarity of which brings a great rhetorical gravity to the whole piece.
 
Each single voice is wonderfully strong, but never overwhelms. Even at the extreme ends of the musical range – particularly that of the countertenors, which is often soaring high above the rest of the texture, but never outside it – no single voice dominates. This is secured despite the awesome strength of each voice. Each is always subservient to the ensemble, the music, and the bigger picture. The resulting balance is sublime. This is all helped along by the very detailed and well-researched programme notes, which greatly enhanced my experience.
 
It is nigh on impossible to put just how good this recording is into words, so I am going to stop trying, and just say this: this recording is something that absolutely must be experienced. You will not regret it at all.
 

Musicweb International, Jake Barlow

  1. Lagrime di San Pietro: I. Il magnanimo Pietro – Orlande de Lassus – 2.12
  2. Lagrime di San Pietro: II. Ma gli archi – Orlande de Lassus – 2.25
  3. Lagrime di San Pietro: III. Tre volte haveva a l’importuna – Orlande de Lassus – 2.21
  4. Lagrime di San Pietro: IV. Qual a l’incontro di que gli occhi santi – Orlande de Lassus – 2.44
  5. Lagrime di San Pietro: V. Giovane donna il suo bel volto in specchio – Orlande de Lassus – 2.00
  6. Lagrime di San Pietro: VI. Cosi talhor – Orlande de Lassus – 2.00
  7. Lagrime di San Pietro: VII. Ogni occhio del Sign?r lingua veloce – Orlande de Lassus – 2.12
  8. Lagrime di San Pietro: VIII. Nessen fedel trovai, nessen cortese – Orlande de Lassus – 2.44
  9. Lagrime di San Pietro: IX. Chi ad una raccontar potesse – Orlande de Lassus – 2.18
  10. Lagrime di San Pietro: X. Come falda di neve – Orlande de Lassus – 2.54
  11. Lagrime di San Pietro: XI. E non fu il pianto suo rivo – Orlande de Lassus – 2.19
  12. Lagrime di San Pietro: XII. Quel volto, ch’era poco inanzi stato – Orlande de Lassus – 2.35
  13. Lagrime di San Pietro: XIII. Veduto il miser quanto differente – Orlande de Lassus – 3.09
  14. Lagrime di San Pietro: XIV. E vago d’incontr?r chi giusta pena – Orlande de Lassus – 2.40
  15. Lagrime di San Pietro: XV. V?ttene, vita, va – Orlande de Lassus – 2.31
  16. Lagrime di San Pietro: XVI. O vita troppo rea – Orlande de Lassus – 2.35
  17. Lagrime di San Pietro: XVII. A quanti, gi? felici in giovanezza – Orlande de Lassus – 2.25
  18. Lagrime di San Pietro: XVIII. Non trovava mia f? si duro intoppo – Orlande de Lassus – 2.31
  19. Lagrime di San Pietro: XIX. Queste opre e piu – Orlande de Lassus – 2.14
  20. Lagrime di San Pietro: XX. Negando il mio Sign?r – Orlande de Lassus – 2.27
  21. Lagrime di San Pietro: XXI. Vide homo, qu? pro te patior – Orlande de Lassus – 3.47