Texte paru dans: / Appeared in:

GRAMOPHONE (Awards Issue - 11/2019)
Pour s'abonner / Subscription information


O gemma clarissima: Music in Praise of St Catharine Product Image

Code-barres / Barcode : 5060262791561


Outil de traduction (Très approximatif)
Translator tool (Very approximate)

Reviewer: Malcolm Riley

St Catharine of Alexandria, blessed patron saint of (among others) scholars, girls, wheelwrights and hatmakers, the ‘brightest jewel’ herself, is beautifully served by the fresh Cambridge voices of ‘Catz’ College’s choirs in this 72-minute feast of Renaissance hymns and motets, served up with customary elegance and polish by their director, Edward Wickham. He draws compelling performances of music composed predominantly in the 16th century from his mixed College Choir and the Girls’ Choir.

Walter Frye’s Kyrie ‘Deus creator omnium’ is contemporary with the foundation of the college in 1473 as ‘Katherine Hall’ and is the earliest work on the disc. It is unfortunate that it suffers a drop of about a quarter-tone in pitch over its seven minute duration. Fortunately this affliction does not affect the rest of the programme. Gombert’s setting of Virgo sancta Katherina is sung with a perfect blend by the four-part Girls’ Choir and the performances of Jean Mouton’s Ave virginum gemma and Adrian Willaert’s O gemma clarissima by the mixed choir also stand out. The Sarum chants which punctuate the motets flow with a lofty ease, gluing together the diverse range of styles.

The crowning glory – and the listener’s final destination – is the quarter-hour motet Gaude rose sine spina by Richard Fawkyner, who had associations with neighbouring King’s College in the early 1480s. Here Wickham pushes his singers to really relish this expansive, transcendent music as it grows and glows from piousness to exultant praise. The engineering and recorded balance are exemplary, with not a single intrusive external blemish.

Sélectionnez votre pays et votre devise en accédant au site de
Presto Classical
(Bouton en haut à droite)

Pour acheter l'album
ou le télécharger

To purchase the CD
or to download it

Choose your country and curency
when reaching
Presto Classical
(Upper right corner of the page)


Cliquez l'un ou l'autre bouton pour découvrir bien d'autres critiques de CD
 Click either button for many other reviews