Shop > Nicholas Ludford, Missa Benedicta & antiennes votives
The Choir of New College Oxford
Directed by Edward Higginbottom
Gramophone Awards 2008: Best of Category - Early Music
The music of Nicholas Ludford has been discovered only relatively recently.This CD of a cappella music was recorded in the glorious acoustic of St Martin de Hoff on the outskirts of Sarrebourg, a perfect environment for this extraordinary 16th century music. It includes the Missa benedicta et venerabilis with plainsong propers and the votive anthems Domine Jesu Christe and Ave cuius conceptio.
1 Votive anthem: Ave cuius conceptio
Missa Benedicta et venerabilis:
2 Inroit (chant): Salve sancta parens
3 Gloria in excelsis Deo
4 Gradual (chant): Benedicta et venerabilis
5 Alleluia (chant): Post partum Virgo
6 Credo in unum Deum
7 Offertory (chant): Ave Maria, gratia plena
8 Sanctus & Benedictus
9 Communion (chant): Beata viscera
10 Agnus Dei
11 Votive anthem: Domine, Jesu Christe [9:42]
Total Playing time: 63:13" DDD
Recorded in the church of Saint-Martin de Hoff, Sarrebourg, France, July 2007
"Ludford (died 1557) might not have the fame of Taverner or Tallis, but he’s still a master composer in a turbulent period for English music. The melodies soar; sophisticated harmonies surprise; and varied textures refresh long stretches of polyphony. A six-part Mass, Missa Benedicta et Venerabilis, is framed by two joyful antiphons. Edward Higginbottom’s choir projects with love, precision, and that special sweet, English ringing tone."
The Times, 4/4/08
"Ludford? This disc shows why scholars are so excited about having recently discovered this composer. A contemporary of John Taverner, Ludford surpassed the achievements of Eton choirbook composers, writing vocal lines at once exuberant, intricate and fantastically combined. Edward Higginbottom’s reading of this score is eagle-eyed and compelling. Symmetries and subtle variations between sequences, contrasts of texture, register shifts and elegantly tapered cadences are carefully articulated. Most importantly, his dynamics dramatically heighten climaxes implied in the score; we are led through a series of melodic arches whose splendour dazzles. The choir is sensitive to Higginbottom’s aims, combining freshness with sincerity in their performance. The vocalists’ ensemble is superior to that of most choirs and the distinctiveness of each line makes luminous even the thickest sections. There are, however, surface flaws: tenors sometimes lack blend and the trebles suffer occasionally from fragility and/or colourlessness. Sound reproduction is sturdy but uninventive, with segments where the top overwhelms the lower line left uncorrected. That the recording sprang from an international festival perhaps accounts for the disc’s hands-off engineering. Such quibbles should not detract from the significance of this performance. Scrupulous scholarship, masterful conducting and committed singing merge to restore the legacy of one of England’s most inventive 16th-century composers."
BBC Music Magazine
"The long wait to hear the music of the forgotten Nicholas Ludford (1485-1557) is amply rewarded on this CD by the Choir of New College, Oxford, under Edward Higginbottom. Ludford worked at St Stephen”s Chapel in the Palace of Westminster and is buried at St Margaret’s Westminster next to the Abbey. His extant works include the Missa Benedicta, which Higginbottom conducts with due power and passion. The boys’ rich tone and emphatic delivery suggest no cowering in the face of reform. The polyphony consists of bold confident lines and inventive word setting that makehim at least the equal of his contemporary John Taverner. A must for all lovers of choral music."
Classic FM Review, June 2008
"...here [the New College trebles] show how much young singers can achieve in the way of cohesiveness, coherence and sheer persuasiveness of melodic shape. More please."
"Performances are exemplary...and show New College on the top of its form. ...a stunning set of trebles."
***** Goldberg Early Music Magazine
"A must for lovers of choral music."
***** Classic FM Magazine