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Gothic Voices

Director: Christopher Page

Gothic Voices

Mixed Choral Ensemble from UK, Germany.

Like so many of the best things in life, the birth of Gothic Voices came about almost by accident. Back in 1980 Christopher Page was asked by the BBC to put together a programme of plainchant by the 12th century Abbess Hildegard of Bingen. Record producer Ted Perry tuned in to that broadcast and it so impressed him that he set up what was to become one of the best-selling recordings of pre-classical music ever made: A Feather on the Breath of God - Hymns and Sequences by Abbess Hildegard of Bingen. Since that time, Gothic Voices has recorded a further twenty CDs on the Hyperion label, three of which have won the coveted Gramophone Magazine Award.

Gothic Voices' concert appearances over the past 25 years have included many of the top national and international venues, including the Wigmore Hall, the BBC Promenade Concerts, international music festivals such as Cheltenham and Edinburgh, the Megaron in Athens, the Berlin Dom, even one concert in a shopping centre in Ecuador! Frequent tours of North America have included concerts in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Toronto and Vancouver, and the group has a substantial following in Europe, particularly in Spain, Germany, Belgium and Holland.

Anyone following the fortunes of the group will know that there have been changes in personnel from time to time. Whilst the performing line-up has remained constant since 1995, Chris Page has retired from playing an active role in Gothic Voices to concentrate on writing his magnum opus "The Rise of Western Europe and its Music." With Chris's blessing and support, programme planning and concert direction has now been transferred to the singers. Since early 2006 Gothic Voices has been represented in Britain by Ben Rayfield of Rayfield Artists.

Gothic Voices' 25th anniversary season is in many ways its most exciting yet. Having given in 2005 the first performance and made the first recordings of Andrew Keeling's "Powered by Joy" (a 13 minute work with medieval texts specially commissioned by Gothic Voices) early in 2006 the group recorded the complete works of the 14th century French composer Solage, together with a number of contrasting songs by his earlier contemporary Machaut. Solage's music is some of the most challenging repertoire that Gothic Voices has ever encountered, yet so familiar with his Ars subtilior style have the singers become that they are able to make even the most virtuosic works sound effortless and second nature to them. The new CD - The Unknown Lover - is due for release in September 2006 and will appear on the innovative and well-respected Avie label. At the same time a brand-new concert programme featuring the repertoire of the new CD will be available to promoters.

There is still so much more of this wonderful repertory to explore, and Gothic Voices' mission is to bring it to a much wider public by communicating with and involving audiences at their concerts. The ensemble's performances shed new light on medieval music, which might at first glance seem unfamiliar and austere, and yet is revealed by them as gloriously rich and strange.

Discography

Displaying 1-5 of 5 items.


Gothic Voices : Music for the Lion-Hearted King : 00  1 CD : Christopher Page :  : 55292

Gothic Voices : Music for the Lion-Hearted King

Review: This CD commemorates the eight hundreth anniversary of King Richard the First's coronation in Westminster Abbey. Soloists or groups of two to four singers perform each piece a cappella, sometimes overlapping melodies and harmonies with dazzling technicality. Each track glows with vocal virtuosity. The effect heightens with each successive listen. During Richard's lifetime the principal forms of secular court music were the conductus and the chanson. A conductus was an accentual Latin poem set to music for one, two, three or even four voices. The number of parts in a conductus governs not only its sound but also its style in performance, for the addition of voices usually increases the drive and aggressiveness of the work.

Songlist: Mundus vergens, Novus miles sequitur, A la doucour de la bele seson, Sol sub nube latuit, Hac in anni ianua, Anglia, planctus itera, Etas auri reditur, Vetus abit littera, In occasu sideris, L'amours dont sui espris, Purgator criminum, Li nouviauz tanz, Pange melos lacrimosum, Ma joie me semont, Ver pacis apperit, Latex silice

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8748c | 00 1 CD | $11.95 | A Cappella Early Music CDs


Gothic Voices : The Castle of Fair Welcome : 00  1 CD : Christopher Page :  : 55274

Gothic Voices : The Castle of Fair Welcome

Review: This Gothic Voices offering covers most of the material found in a songbook (a manuscript collection of favoured songs) dating from around AD 1200. It was only rediscovered by chance, the original manuscript having been disassembled for use as flyleaves for another book. Precious little information is given in the sleeve note about the circumstances of that rediscovery, which is a shame, and we read that it can only be guessed that the songbook had its origins within some kind of religious foundation. Just over half the songs are monophonic and most relate to Christian feasts, especially Christmas. But as in many such collections from across the centuries, the fun comes in discovering the more eclectic choices of music for inclusion. Here, for example, there are songs bewailing the sale of ecclesiastical offices, the need to use flattery to get on in life and the prevalence of greed and disrespect for the law, plus a marvellous love song featuring a young man's agonising choice between the charms of "little Flora" and his studies. The tasteful, sensitive Gothic Voices performances are everything we have come to expect.

Songlist: Le souvenir de vous me tue, Puisque ma damme / Je m'en voy, Las je ne puis plus nullement durer, Que pourroit plus, Myn hertis lust, Dueil angoisseux, Ne je ne dors, En amours n'a si non bien, La pena sin ser sabida, Mi ut re ut (Venise), Plus j'ay le monde regarde, So ys emprinted, Ma dame, trop vous mesprenes, Pues servicio vos desplaze

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8827c | 00 1 CD | $13.95 Early Music CDs


Gothic Voices : A Laurel for Landini : 00  1 CD : Christopher Page :  : 2151

Gothic Voices : A Laurel for Landini

Review: The award winning and worldwide famous vocal ensemble Gothic Voices travel to Italy and the origins of its impressive polyphonic music: A Laurel for Landini - 14th Century Italy's Greatest Composer. This disc presents the group performing music by the Italian composer Francesco Landini, one of the most prominent and influential composers of that time and one of the most important for the development of later forms of close harmonic chanting - the forerunner of the famous Madrigal that would flourish later in the 16th century. This disc not only sets out the panorama of the time and the genius of Landini himself but also works by his contemporaries. Here Gothic Voices collaborate with the worldwide acclaimed harpist Andrew Lawrence-King. This is an important release that will appeal to those interested in singing and early choral music to discover a whole new set and experiments from a composer that helped create the choral forms that later revolutionized the whole of western music.

Songlist: Sia laudato san Francesco, O sommo specchio, Creata fusti, o vergine Maria, Questa fanciull' Amor, Batista da Dio amato, Deh, dinmi tu, De sospirar sovente, Vaga fanciulla, Ave Maria, stella Diana, Ne la piu cara parte, Guarda una volta, Per Pallegrezza del nostro Signore, Cosi penoso, Donna, perche mi spregi, Musica son/ Gia furon/ Ciascun Vuol, Peccatrice nominata, Conviens' a fede, Lasso! di donna, Mein herz das ist versert, Ne la mia vita, Muort' oramai, Che pena e quest' al cor, Piu bella donn' al mondo, Questa fanciull' Amor, Vergine donzella imperadrice, Questa fanciull' Amor

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8993c | 00 1 CD | $17.95 | A Cappella Early Music CDs


Gothic Voices : The Marriage of Heaven & Hell : 00  1 CD : Christopher Page :  : CDH 55273

Gothic Voices : The Marriage of Heaven & Hell

Review: An essential document of 13th-century music and of vocal performance of three- and four-voice motets. 'A wonderful collection. Lusciously sung sensuous music...remarkable addition to the distinguished sereis of records from Gothic Voices' (Gramophone)

Songlist: Je ne chant pas / Talens m'est pris, Trois sereurs / Trois sereurs / Trois sereurs, En tous tans que vente bise, Plus bele que flors / Quant revient / L'autrier jouer, Par un matinet / He, sire! / He bergier!, De la virge Katerine / Quant froidure / Agmina milicie, Trop volentiers chanteroie, Ave parens / Ad gratie, Super te Jerusalem / Sed fulsit virginitas, A vous douce debonnaire, Mout souvent / Mout ai este en dolour, Can vei la lauzeta mover, Quant voi l'aloete / Diex! je ne m'en partire ja, En non Dieu / Quant voi la rose, Autres que je ne sueill fas, Je m'en vois / Tels a mout, Festa januaria

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8826c | 00 1 CD | $13.95 Early Music CDs


Gothic Voices : A Feather on the Breath of God : 00  1 CD : Christopher Page : Hildegard von Bingen : CDA 66039

Gothic Voices : A Feather on the Breath of God

Review: This is the record that started the Hildegard craze back in 1982--and you need only listen to Emma Kirkby glide and soar through Columba aspexit (the opening hymn) to understand why. Gothic Voices performs the music very simply, either alternating soloists and unison choir over a drone or using a single unaccompanied voice. The singers render Hildegard's extravagant poetic imagery and melody not with the rhythmically fluid, ecstatic approach favoured by Sequentia, but with equalist rhythm and a calm, meditative quality. Gothic Voices' straightforward approach is less likely to send you into a rapturous trance than is Sequentia's, but in the hands of such fine singers as Kirkby, Margaret Philpot, and Emily van Evera, Hildegard's extraordinary texts and melodies are captivating--and clear enough to linger in the memory as melodies rather than just sensations. This record is still a bestselling title - try it and find out why.

Songlist: Columba aspexit, Ave, generosa, O ignis spiritus, O Ierusalem, O Euchari, O viridissima virga, O presul vere civitatis, O Ecclesia

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8828c | 00 1 CD | $19.95 | A Cappella Early Music CDs


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