CHOIR OF SAINT IGNATIUS LOYOLA
O VOS OMNESMusic for Lent and Holy Week
Music From Saint Ignatius Loyola - Volume I
Gregorio Allegri, William Byrd, Giovanni Pierluigi Da Palestrina, Thomas Tallis, Tomas Luis De Victoria
CHOIR OF SAINT IGNATIUS LOYOLA
"...the choir is superb in virtually every category. On hand here we have Volume I, which [is] very high in quality... the choices [of repertoire] are select, and the program brings much enjoyment and, well, peace... Beautiful singing and great music make for a fine outing, most suitable to the spring religious season.”
Steven Ritter, Audiophile Audition [July 2014]
"The church’s sumptuously reverberant acoustic immediately grabs the attention of the listener and contributes to the blending of a rather small ensemble of voices (2-3-4-2 for most of the program). The women have a light and straight tone without sounding like English boys. The men’s voices are exceptionally warm. The two basses are more than adequate as a foundation for the ensemble. The tenors are reduced to three and the basses increased to four for the Tallis Lamentations. Director Kent Tritle, who is on the Juilliard faculty, does not hesitate to shape this music through dynamic contrasts, though he does not carry this to subjective excess. Spacious sound."
Gatens, American Record Guide [March/April 2012]
"Kent Tritle, director of the famed Sacred Music in a Sacred Space series at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in New York city for 23 years and recently appointed musical director and organist at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, has long been one of the bright lights among American choir directors. His good work bears abundant fruit in “O Vos Ones,” music written by the greatest Catholic composers of the 16th century expressly for performance during Lent and Holy Week. Works expressing the highest religious fervor and representing the epitome in the polyphonic art of a great era are found in this program, as Tritle directs the Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola in performances that define his tenure there.
The works heard on this program by Byrd, Palestrina, Allegri, Victoria, and Tallis are unforgiving in their demands for absolutely pure intonation and pitch and a cohesive ensemble capable of the greatest variety of expressive shadings. The polyphonic purity of such selections as Giovanni da Palestrina’s eloquent setting of Psalm 42:2, “Sicut cervus” (As the hart pants for running waters, so my soul years for thee, o Lord) and William Byrd’s imposing “Ave, verum corpus” (Hail, O True Body) speak for the flawless execution of the St. Ignatius Choir. The setting of Lamentations 1:12, “O vos omnes” by Tomás Luis de Victoria adds further to the choir’s luster as they capture the world weary grief and sadness of the verse (translated) “O ye that pass along this way, behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow.” The Lamentations of Jeremiah, a setting of verses 1:1-5 by English composer Thomas Tallis, comes across in the present compelling performance as the many-voiced expressions of utter desolation and loss, while Tallis’ “O sacrum convivium” (O sacred banquet) represents the height of the Easter celebration and the reason why that feast is central to the Catholic faith. Placed last on the disc, as is appropriate, it provides a needed leavening after an emotionally laden program.
Perhaps the most challenging single item in the program is the “Misere mei, Deus” (Have mercy upon me, Lord) of Gregorio Allegri, the indescribably beautiful setting of Psalm 51 (= Vulgate Psalm 50) that was for centuries so jealously guarded a possession of the Vatican that to copy it or perform it elsewhere other than at St. Peter’s during Holy Week was expressly forbidden upon pain of excommunication (Those old Popes didn’t need to mess around with copyright laws). With the famously sensational “gear shift” from g minor to c minor in the second half of the verse toned down a bit in the present rendering but with the stratospheric descant still floating effortlessly about the verse, this Miserere creates a stunning effect, as it was meant to do."
Phil Muse, Audio Society of Atlanta [February 2012]
"Of the multiplication of small vocal ensembles devoted to Renaissance polyphony there seems to be no end; but so long as they are of the high caliber of the Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola Church in New York, you will hear nothing but rejoicing from me. Composed of 15 singers in various combinations, with ladies singing both soprano and alto parts, this group produces a superbly blended sound of exquisite sweetness, lightness, and purity, that floats through the resonant spaces of the church’s recorded acoustic without the slightest trace of muddiness obscuring the clarity of individual vocal lines. Before any readers of these lines roll their eyes and say, “Do we need yet another recording of the Allegri Miserere?” let me say that this one has now become a favorite of mine, due not only to the beauty and clarity of the ensemble’s sound but also to a brisk tempo that avoids the affectations in accent and distensions of vocal lines which have come to afflict so many other versions... complete Latin-English texts are provided [in the booklet]. Unhesitatingly recommended."
James A. Altena, Fanfare [March/April 2012]
"I first heard Kent Tritle and his Ignatians on a stunning CD of Ginastera and Schnittke. They made it obvious that their technique was up to anything a composer might put their way. Here, they pass the cruel test of a pure, blended unison in the plainchant. Their sense of pitch throughout the program becomes an exciting element in itself. The intricate contrapuntal textures (in all but the triplum) are clear as water. One easily falls in love with this disc... Tritle's approach...yields technically superb results. The sound comes from a stone cathedral and fills the vaults."
Steve Schwartz, ClassicalNet [December 2011]
PROGRAM NOTESKent Tritle is one of America’s leading choral conductors. He is founder and Music Director of Sacred Music in a Sacred Space, the acclaimed concert series at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in New York; Music Director of the Oratorio Society of New York and of Musica Sacra; Director of Choral Activities at the Manhattan School of Music; and a member of the graduate faculty of The Juilliard School. An acclaimed organ virtuoso, Tritle is also the organist of the New York Philharmonic and the American Symphony Orchestra. In his 22 years of presenting concerts on the Sacred Music in a Sacred Space series, Mr. Tritle has conducted the Choir and Orchestra of St. Ignatius Loyola in a broad repertoire of sacred works, from Renaissance masses and oratorio masterworks to premieres by notable living composers. As the Director of Music Ministries at St. Ignatius Loyola, Tritle oversees a program that annually produces more than 400 services with music. Since his appointment there in 1989, he has led the church’s professional choir in critically acclaimed performances and developed the 50-voice volunteer Parish Community Choir. Kent Tritle has made more than a dozen recordings on the Telarc, AMDG, Epiphany, Gothic, VAI and MSR Classics labels, many of which have received high praise in Gramophone, American Record Guide and The Choral Journal. Mr. Tritle holds degrees from The Juilliard School in organ performance and choral conducting and has been on the Juilliard faculty since 1996. He is currently teaching choral conducting, and directing a graduate practicum on oratorio in collaboration with the school’s Vocal Arts Department. www.KentTritle.com
The Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola, featured in the Sacred Music in a Sacred Space concert series at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, is comprised of New York’s finest professional choral singers. Each member of the choir is a soloist in his or her own right in a variety of genres, including early music, opera, oratorio and contemporary repertoire. The core group of 19 members sings a demanding schedule of weekly parish worship services in a wide range of repertoire, with particular emphasis on new works, the sacred Renaissance repertoire and Gregorian chant. The Choir, heard in recordings on the MSR Classics and AMDG labels, was invited in 2006 to be the headline chorus at the Southwestern American Choral Directors Association convention in St. Louis, Missouri. In 2009, they performed in the opening festival of WNYC radio’s Jerome L. Greene Performance Space on a concert bill with René Pape, John Zorn and Ute Lemper. www.smssconcerts.org www.stignatiusloyola.org
Ave verum corpus
TOMÁS LUIS DE VICTORIA
O vos omnes
Anonymous English 14th Century
O homo considera / O homo de pulvere / Filiae Jerusalem
Miserere mei, Deus
Lamentations of Jeremiah
O sacrum convivium
COOL OF THE DAY
A Cappella Gems Through the Centuries
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GINASTERA: LAMENTATIONS; SCHNITTKE: …
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