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Fanfare Magazine: 11:3 (01-02/1988)
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Harmonia Mundi

Code-barres / Barcode : 0794881945221



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Reviewer: J. F. Weber

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… Philippe Herreweghe has given us a performance that competes very closely (with Harnoncourt). His men sing a group of chant antiphons only before the psalms and canticle (as the new Corboz and Parrott versions do), acknowledging the Concerti as antiphon substitutes after the psalms. This leaves an inconsistency: an antiphon before the Magnificat, nothing at all after. The choice of antiphons is only approximately based on modality, certainly not on any feast. His women sing the Sonata sopra sancta Maria. His authentic instruments are displayed less lavishly than Harnoncourt's, which may be a point of favor for some listeners. He also chooses the larger Magnificat.

The notes by Jean-Pierre Ouvrard are fine, discussing many of the points raised in the other set, notably the antiphons and substitute Concerti. The text and three translations are equally legible. Monteverdi's divisions are marked by 13 tracks, with index points for additional access. The engineering was accomplished at an abbey in Saintes (north of Bordeaux), typical of this label's fine work, with good stereo effects if not as spectacular as Teldec's.

Among the four CD versions I've heard (9:2, 9:6), Parrott and Harnoncourt add more minor liturgical insertions than any previous recordings, while Herreweghe and Corboz, like some other versions, add only chant antiphons. Parrott, with one voice to a part throughout, is distinctively different than all the others. All four are exceptional achievements in performance and recording. At the moment I lean toward Harnoncourt. but not by much.

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