Palestrina: Lamentations

Palestrina: Lamentations

by CinquecentoCinquecento


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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."

Product Details

Release Date: 11/01/2019
Label: Hyperion Uk
UPC: 0034571282848
catalogNumber: 68284
Rank: 22890


  1. Lamentationum Hieremiae Prophetae, for 4 & 5 voices ("Lamentations, Book 2")

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