Christmas with the Shepherds
The Marian Consort, Rory McCleery
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 100 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, that Mouton’s motet would form the basis for a mass by Morales; and, later still, 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. Taking its name from the Blessed Virgin Mary, a focus of religious devotion in the sacred music of all ages, The Marian Consort is a young, dynamic and internationally-renowned early music vocal ensemble, recognised for its freshness of approach and innovative presentation of a broad range of repertoire. Under its founder and director, Rory McCleery, this ‘astounding’ (The Herald) ensemble has given concerts throughout the UK and Europe, features regularly on BBC Radio 3, and is a former ‘Young Artist’ of The Brighton Early Music Festival.
"Christmas 2014 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."
"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."
"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."
"These pieces and other Christmas motets are sung with impeccable polish and blend."
"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."