Collegium Vocale Gent

Handsome P. Wonderful's picture
What's it called?: 
Victoria: Officium Defunctorum
What does it sound like?: 
Imagine a warm summer's day in the English countryside. All of a sudden an Angel appears before you. He/she is the most beautiful creature that you have ever seen. The Angel tells you that everything is going to be alright as he/she lays you down in the warm shade of a large oak. His/her hands caress you gently from the tips of your toes, up your legs and chest until they reach your head. You are completely relaxed and very happy. Then, just when you think you couldn't be any happier, the Angel's hands reach into your head and start to massage your brain. That's what this record sounds like.
What does it all *mean*?: 
I know there's a sizeable constituency of classical music lovers in the Massive and I represent the the Choral Music (Sacred) sub-group. I don't pretend to be an expert on Sacred Music, but I knew from the first listen that this was special.
Goes well with …: 
I find this is the thing to listen to when I need to chill out. I strap on the noise-reducing headphones and it only takes a few minutes before I'm in another place (this is usually literally true, as I listen a lot on the train).
Might suit people who like …: 
to be quiet occasionally.


Can I join your sub-group? I've become a big fan of choral music, particularly from the Renaissance & Baroque period. I've heard of Collegium Vocale Gent, but was not aware of this recording until your review. I'll be ordering a copy as soon as I've finished this comment. I can heartily recommend the following: "A New Venetian Coronation" by Paul McCreesh's Gabrieli Consort & Players; the Striggio Mass in 40 parts & Italian Vespers by Robert Hollingworth's ensemble, I Fagiolini; Oxford Camerata's version of Thomas Tallis' "Spem In Alium"; and recordings of the Monteverdi 1610 Vespers & Biber's Missa Bruxellensis by La Capella Reial De Catalunya & Jordi Savall. Nice to know I'm not alone in loving this sort of stuff. A big hello from Rodders. (This is my first appearance on the blog BTW)

I've got the two I Fagiolini recordings (they're playing the Striggio in London in two weeks, by the way) and enjoyed Spem In Alium, but the others are new to me. I'll give them a listen (Spotify is pretty good for all of this stuff).

It's one of those lifelong addictions which having been a cathedral chorister gives you, and I still thank the god I don't believe in every day that I got to do that for 5 years as a child. Formative ain't in it.

It's funny - I had always assumed, without checking, that Victoria was Italian, because in my day, his name was always Italianised to da Vittoria. And of the southern European Renaissance composers, it's him and Palestrina who tend to be best represented in English cathedrals. They are both just... astonishing. To hear their music sung by a good English boys' cathedral choir is so moving - it's no wonder I was religious as a boy, singing this stuff amid this:

The 16th and 17th century gave us so much incredible sacred music. Byrd. Tallis. Victoria (it's really hard to spell it like that!). Lassus. Palestrina.

I'll have to check this one out.

It look familiar


I can heartily recommend this recording - the Tallis Scholars singing Josquin. A couple of masses. Northern Italy. Around 1500. I rate it as highly as any of the Palestrina recordings in my collection. Very moving, and quite exquisite.

This album is quite beautiful and relaxing, although I know nothing about this kind of thing. Or Masses (except what I have gleaned from episodes of Father Ted).

I love this stuff-prefer the choral & instrumental 16th/17th century stuff. I love the works of Giovanni Gabrieli and the Venetians in particular. Hyperion and Harmonia Mundi are particularly good labels to investigate. The Hyperion bargain label Helios is a great way to investigate this era-usually £6 per CD.
My current top six in no particular order:

A Venetian Christmas: Gabrieli Consort (not very seasonal but fantastic)
Lo Spozalizio: Kings consort
Buxtehude: Membri Jesu Nostri Cantus Colln
Samuel Scheidt: (yes really) cantiones sacrae
Rogier: Polychoral Works (Magnificat & His Majesty's Sagbutts & Cornets)
Biber: Missa Christi Resurgentis
I'd like to single out the works of Rogier, which are as good as anything else I've ever heard.

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