Cambridge's male-voice early music ensemble

Morales 1 Commended!

Our first Morales CD has been assigned the prestigious Díapason d’Or from the French classical music magazine Díapason, as mentioned in our review in this month’s issue. We are thrilled!

We include an English translation of the review below:

Recorded May 2022 by Adam Binks at St Jude on the Hill, London.
Generous sound image with the male voices sounding harmoniously in the space, sustained and enriched by the natural acoustic.
For the second mass the organ fits in like an extra voice.

All of Morales’ masses and Magnificats: a new challenge for the male-voice ensemble, De Profundis, founded in 2011 and based in Cambridge. The first of twelve planned volumes consists of two early works, the famous six-voice mass based on the Josquin chanson, Mille Regretz and the mass for four voices on a Spanish popular song, Desilde al cavallero.  In the 1530s Morales was employed by the Papal Choir at the Vatican where stayed until 1544, the year his first book of masses was published.  His Missa Mille Regretz was probably intended to honour Charles V; the emperor liked this song and Morales incorporated the sovereign’s coat of arms in the initial of the Kyrie – and what a mass!  Finished between 1535-7, a new Sanctus and Agnus Dei were written for the 1544 version.  The two versions, both recorded here, show the composer’s inexhaustible invention, using the chanson in every contrapuntal technique imaginable.  Compare the 1544 Sanctus and Hosanna with the 1535 version!

Not for a minute does either composer or ensemble grow wearisome.  The choir chisels this luxurious polyphony with the care of a relief sculptor, the twenty English singers turning the phrases with understanding and shape.  Their sonorous flourishing far surpasses that of [previous recordings].  The clarity of the direction is even more manifest in the condensed writing of the Magnificat Primi Toni, and the Missa Desilde al cavallero which is taken from a Milanese manuscript and accompanied on the organ.  Its Kyrie and Benedictus astonishingly reveal the deceptive simplicity of this cantus firmus mass.  The adventure begins – and in the most auspicious way!

Frédéric Degroote

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