Christmas with the Shepherds: Morales – Mouton – Stabile

A Christmas programme with a difference: Rory McCleery and his acclaimed consort echo the shepherds’ noels through a motet by Jean Mouton which, astonishingly, remained in the repertoire of the Sistine Chapel for over a hundred years after its composition around 1515.

So famous already by the middle of the century, when Cristóbal de Morales was engaged as a singer in the papal chapel, it was inevitable that Mouton’s motet – by the compositional precepts of the time – should form the basis for a mass by Morales; and, later still, for a new motet to the same text by Annibale Stabile. A world premiere recording of the latter work crowns this unique programme, drawn from new performing editions by McCleery himself.

"An interesting programme, tracing the influence of French composer Jean Mouton's nativity motet...mellifluously performed here by the seven members of the youthful Marian Consort, who shape the sinuous polyphony with winning pliability."

"If you prefer medieval purity to oversweet harmonies this is a must...The delivery is clean, unadorned, unaccompanied and undemonstrative, drawing the listener in by quiet persuasion and musical intelligence of the highest order."

"These pieces and other Christmas motets are sung with impeccable polish and blend."

"This is a disc that can only enhance further the reputation of the Marian Consort. If you want a gentle, reflective and very satisfying musical celebration of Christmas then Christmas with the Shepherds is for you."

"None of the music on this immaculately-produced disc is well-known, though that shouldn't deter the unwary from investigating...All unobtrusively wonderful, sung in some style and sumptuously recorded in the chapel of Merton College, Oxford. Excellent notes by McCleery too."

"the one-to-a-part singing is always expressive and controlled"

"Another scholarly and musically superb disc, with a Christmas flavour - though fare of this quality deserves all-year delectation ... Recordings like this should be the basis of any serious music collection - go forth and get."


Producer: Paul Baxter
Recording venue(s): Chapel of Merton College, Oxford
Recording dates: 13-15 January 2014
Physical format: Jewel case
Number of discs: 1
Number of tracks: 10
Release date: 15 September 2014
Total playing time: 1:02:55
Album ID: DCD34145

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