John Sheppard: Media vita in morte sumus

John Sheppard: Media vita in morte sumus

Regular price $16.78
Total playing time [16:30]

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Alamire
David Skinner (director)


When the Renaissance composer John Sheppard (c.1515-1558) shines he is beyond glorious, and the monumental six-part Media vita in morte sumus is undoubtedly among the greatest of his creations.

However, recent research has meticulously reexamined the liturgical sources of Media vita demonstrating that the widely accepted structure of the work may have long been misunderstood. Using research from scholars John Harper and Jason Smart, the Early music consort Alamire with director David Skinner are now able to shed new light on one of the greatest masterworks from Tudor England in this first recording of Media vita in its newly reordered version.

Album Booklet (PDF)

Tracklist

Media vita in morte sumus
1. Incipit: Media vita – Nunc dimittis
2. Antiphona: Media vita in morte sumus
3. Versus I: Ne projicias nos – Sancte deus
4. Versus II: Noli claudere – Sancte fortis
5. Versus III: Qui cognoscis – Sancte et misericors

'After meticulous research and consultation, Skinner suggests how this six-part masterpiece, sometimes considered lopsided in structure, might have been performed originally (explained in depth in the album booklet). The liturgical minutiae may well escape the listener. Yet the performance, dark-hued and beautifully balanced, compels and convinces.'

- The Guardian

'Alamire perform Media vita at a pitch where their tenors shine particularly brightly. In their hands this polyphony has a lower centre of gravity than the famous recording by The Tallis Scholars (Gimell, 1/90), yet it retains a similar sheen. I particularly admire the pace of the opening, which finds an atmosphere of wonder as the richness of Sheppard’s polyphony is unveiled...this new release from Alamire is magnificent and unmissably poignant in these times of pandemic.'
Gramophone

'After meticulous research and consultation, Skinner suggests how this six-part masterpiece, sometimes considered lopsided in structure, might have been performed originally (explained in depth in the album booklet). The liturgical minutiae may well escape the listener. Yet the performance, dark-hued and beautifully balanced, compels and convinces.'
The Guardian

'The recording gives all of the voices plenty of presence, allowing for clarity while managing to hold onto that essential balance between singers and the acoustic space. All of this brings a tear to this reviewer’s eye, and anything that can have that effect deserves investing in'
MusicWeb International

'Alamire’s performance is excellent; for a choir which, as its director observes, “tend[s] to lean towards those darker sonorities” there could have been more pneumatic drill from the basses, but given the dimensions of the choir and the acoustic in which they were recorded, the pacing and blend are fine. In terms of the value of the music and the quality of the performance, not to mention the considerable amount of research behind it, this recording is a snip. It is recommended without hesitation.'
Early Music Review

'[...] this new release from Alamire is magnificent and unmissably poignant in these times of pandemic.'
Falsettist

'I enjoyed this disc immensely, the sort of scholarship that has gone into it exactly appeals to me, but on top of that the performance from David Skinner and Alamire is anything but dryly academic, and their sonorous approach to the music brings it alive.'
Planet Hugill

Credits
© 2020 Resonus Limited
Ⓟ 2020 Resonus Limited/Alamire
Catalogue No. INV1003 (Inventa Records)
Producer: Nigel Short
Engineer: Jim Gross
Editor: Adam Binks
EAN: 5060262791660
Cover: Light in the Dark and Dramatic Storm Clouds by Sabphoto (Shutterstock)
Release date: 17 July 2020