Cinquecento

Palestrina: Lamentations

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After centuries of being held up as the ideal of Renaissance polyphony, and then decades of neglect as listeners discovered the other riches of the High Renaissance, Palestrina has experienced a modest revival in the 21st century, with many performances of excavated works. Several have been recorded by the mainstream choir The Sixteen, and now the transnational quintet Cinquecento offers a highly distinctive Lamentations of Jeremiah, which is apparently an early work: it is found in a manuscript dated around 1558. Palestrina set the Lamentations several times, and these are fascinating works that demand of the composer a whole different set of skills from those involved in his spacious masses and glassy motets. The Lamentations are sets of very short utterances; there are 73 tracks on this Hyperion album, almost all under a minute in length. The one-voice-per-part performance here is not ideal for what was surely choral music, but it works in this case: the male singers of Cinquecento, bulked up to eight for the big finale, catch the remarkable variety of Palestrina's settings of these short musical chunks. Lamentations settings can easily get monotonous, especially when sung by a large choir, but here, the listener notices the chromaticism, and both the progressive devices (like madrigalisms) and the antique ones (fauxbourdon-like parallel-harmony passages). This is decidedly not your father's or grandfather's Palestrina, but it's a wonderfully moody and expressive realization of the Lamentations.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Lamentations
1 00:52 Amazon
2 00:29 Amazon
3 01:13 Amazon
4 00:28 Amazon
5 01:49 Amazon
6 01:13 Amazon
7 00:39 Amazon
8 01:28 Amazon
9 00:32 Amazon
10 01:32 Amazon
11 00:33 Amazon
12 00:48 Amazon
13 01:39 Amazon
14 01:32 Amazon
15 00:40 Amazon
16 01:36 Amazon
17 00:30 Amazon
18 00:57 Amazon
19 00:38 Amazon
20 00:36 Amazon
21 01:16 Amazon
22 01:35 Amazon
23 00:41 Amazon
24 00:36 Amazon
25 00:53 Amazon
26 00:38 Amazon
27 00:34 Amazon
28 01:20 Amazon
29 00:31 Amazon
30 01:00 Amazon
31 00:59 Amazon
32 01:38 Amazon
33 00:34 Amazon
34 01:30 Amazon
35 00:36 Amazon
36 01:16 Amazon
37 00:44 Amazon
38 00:35 Amazon
39 01:30 Amazon
40 01:18 Amazon
41 00:27 Amazon
42 00:49 Amazon
43 00:48 Amazon
44 00:44 Amazon
45 00:46 Amazon
46 00:35 Amazon
47 00:40 Amazon
48 00:42 Amazon
49 01:31 Amazon
50 00:37 Amazon
51 00:54 Amazon
52 01:29 Amazon
53 00:50 Amazon
54 00:45 Amazon
55 00:42 Amazon
56 00:43 Amazon
57 01:43 Amazon
58 00:49 Amazon
59 01:23 Amazon
60 00:45 Amazon
61 00:52 Amazon
62 00:35 Amazon
63 00:45 Amazon
64 00:53 Amazon
65 02:04 Amazon
66 00:51 Amazon
67 01:03 Amazon
68 00:51 Amazon
69 00:42 Amazon
70 01:56 Amazon
71 00:48 Amazon
72 00:58 Amazon
73 02:12 Amazon
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