This spectacular set features a quintessential selection of western sacred music that that will please one and all, from an inquisitive novice to a discerning connoisseur. It features a vast array of critically acclaimed recordings of more than seventy cornerstone works, ranging from the earliest Christian chants to gospel songs and Gershwin's blues. The performers include some of today's finest artists, including René Jacobs, Philippe Herreweghe, Paul Hillier and William Christie. Offered at a special low price, this limited edition set is packaged in a luxury clamshell style box containing 29 discs of music and one PDF disc with sung texts.
What can anyone add to the praise that has deservedly been heaped on Robert King and the King's Consort's 11 discs of the complete sacred music of Vivaldi? Can one add that every single performance is first class – wonderfully musical, deeply dedicated, and profoundly spiritual? Can one add that every single performer is first class – absolutely in-tune, entirely in-sync, and totally committed? Can one add that every single recording is first class – amazingly clean, astoundingly clear, and astonishingly warm? One can because it's all true and it's all been said before by critics and listeners across the globe. Can one say that every piece is a masterpiece – that every piece is filled with the consummate skill, the irresistible joy, and the radiant spirituality that was Vivaldi's specialty? One can because this, too, is true. From the well-known Gloria, Magnificat, and Stabat Mater to the little known In furore giustissimae irae, O qui coeli terraeque serenitas, and Cur sagittas, cur tela, truly every work is a masterpiece and anyone – from the deeply devout to the deeply doubtful – will love these works, these performances, and these recordings if they love music.–James Leonard
Though Duke Ellington called his first concert of sacred music "the most important thing I've ever done," it might have been more accurately called the most controversial thing he had ever done – even more so than the so-called "Controversial Suite." The year was 1965; institutions of all kinds, including organized religion, were under fire; even Time magazine dared to run a cover with the legend "Is God Dead?" In response to progressive members of the clergy, jazz musicians like Ellington, Lalo Schifrin, Vince Guaraldi, and a bit later, Dave Brubeck took up the challenge of fusing Christian texts with jazz – and no project had a higher profile, nor drew more fire, than Ellington's.
First and foremost, Domenico Scarlatti is regarded as the greatest composer of binary harpsichord sonatas of all time, and that is as it should be: he wrote more than 600 of them and many are constantly recorded and played. However, early in his Italian career, Scarlatti developed a proven track record as a composer of sacred music, some of it under the watchful eye of his father, Alessandro Scarlatti, believed by many at the time as the top composer of the age. The fact most readily observed in regard to Domenico's sacred music is that his Stabat mater, composed in 1717 or 1718, was the work within that genre replaced in Rome by Giovanni Pergolesi's Stabat mater around 1735. The Scarlatti work was conceived in a different style to different strictures; while it has become the most recorded of Scarlatti's sacred works, it definitely suffers when paired with the Pergolesi owing to its immediacy and familiarity. On Coro's Iste Confessor, the Sixteen led by Harry Christophers widely opt for Scarlatti's own, other sacred music as filler to the "Stabat mater with results fairer to the composer and quite favorable to listeners.
This is a very good collection of Gesualdo's sacred motet style, performed beautifully. Most of these pieces are much more conservative and less chromatic than his madrigals, but they are exquisite and expresive and every bit as competent as the styles of contemporaries such as Gesualdo's alter-ego, Palestrina. Much of this music makes his mental turmoil and fear of damnation over his infamous murders achingly clear, especially the disturbing mode changes and chromaticism on parts of the text that say things like "have mercy on me" and words like "my sorrow and "my tears".
Mozart 250th Anniversary Edition: Complete Sacred Music by Harnoncourt / Mozart / Vienna Concentus Musicus was released Sep 19, 2005 on the Warner Classics label. Mozart 250th Anniversary Edition: Complete Sacred Music is a 13-disc set.
Anima mea explores the Christian concept of the soul through these masterpieces of medieval Sacred Music. Hildegard of Bingen’s beautifully exalted harmonies represent God’s order in the music of the spheres. The recently rediscovered Erfurt Ritual contains sung music from Master Eckhart’s historical context. These antiphons are performed here for the first time since 1525, along with chants from the liturgy of the Roman mass, music from the Notre Dame School, and a glorious Magnificat. The German duo Ensemble Cosmedin, who take their name from a church in Rome, are considered one of the leading ensembles for medieval and modern sacred music. Music of the soul—gentle and luminous.
In their third disc for Hyperion, the acclaimed vocal ensemble Cinquecento continue their exploration of the rich repertoire engendered in the Habsburg court. The prolific composer De Monte, Kapellmeister to the Emperor Maximilian II, wrote over a thousand madrigals as well as hundreds of sacred works, and the expressive aspects of the madrigal infuse his sacred music delightfully. His Missa Ultimi miei sospiri contains the constant interplay between groups of voices and dramatic word-setting which are features of the madrigal genre. The motets recorded here cover many Biblical and liturgical subjects and demonstrate the wide range of techniques and styles used by the composer.