Thursday, 11 August 2016
de Monte - Missa Ultimi miei sospiri - Cinquecento
Review: A very fine disc
Considering his vast output of music, Philippe de Monte doesn't feature in the catalogue all that much, which is a shame as this disc shows that he was a composer of real stature who produced some very fine works. I had previously known de Monte largely through his famously sending his lovely motet Super flumina Babylonis to Byrd, lamenting the oppression of Catholics in England (and Byrd responding with a fabulous setting of Quomodo cantabimus?) This disc comprises a very fine mass setting, a Magnificat and several motets and is a very welcome addition to my collection.
Cinquecento sing the music superbly. The beautiful sound which was such a feature of their disc of Regnart's music is here too. They are an all-male sextet with top lines sung by countertenors, so the pitch is relatively low and this and the resonant acoustic gives a fabulous, warm, enveloping sound which loses none of the detail and expressiveness of either the music itself or the fine performance. Intonation is impeccable and the singing is wonderfully clean and sympathetic to the text without disturbing the overall beauty of the sound. The combination of top-quality performance with excellent recorded sound makes this a favourite disc of mine and I recommend it very warmly indeed.