Alessandro Grandi: Motets in 5 Voices


Catalogue No: DDA 25062
EAN/UPC: 809730506222
Composers: , , , , ,
Release Date: September 2007
Discs: 1
Total Playing Time: 79:56

Alessandro Grandi is widely regarded as one of the finest composers from Italy in the early 17th century but his music itself is little known. This premiere recording of his 16 Motets for Five Voices rectifies that and demonstrates his extraordinary musical powers. Also on the CD are musical items from the soundtrack of the film/live/multimedia work “Fallen”, a collaboration between Musica Secreta and playwright Fiona Mackie.

Also available by Musica Secreta: ‘Sacred Hearts + Secret Music’ (DDA 25077).

Track Listing

    Alessandro Grandi:

  1. Sancte Sebastiane (2:48)
  2. Ave Regina caelorum (3:17)
  3. Judica me Domine (3:39)
  4. O dulcis et o pia (2:23)
  5. O bone Jesu Christe (2:32)
  6. Anima mea liquefacta est (3:03)
  7. Iste cognovit iustitiam (2:16)
  8. Exaudi Deus orationem meam (3:11)
  9. Deus misereatur nostri (2:12)
  10. Quam pulchra est (3:24)
  11. Innova Domine signa (3:55)
  12. Quo rubicunda rosa (3:30)
  13. Quomodo dilexi legem tuam (5:26)
  14. Versus est in luctum cithara mea (3:57)
  15. Qui timetis Domine (3:06)
  16. Letaniae Beatae Mariae Virginis (10:29)
  17. Lodovico Agostini:

  18. Veni sponsa Christi (3:02)
  19. St. Catherine of Bologna:

  20. Salve Regina vergin gloriosa (2:15)
  21. Josquin des Prez:

  22. Agnus Dei III from “Missa L’homme arme sexti toni” (4:03)
  23. Giaches de Wert:

  24. Vox in Rama audita est (3:03)
  25. anonymous (16th century):

  26. Regnum mundi et omnem ornatum (1:50)
  27. Josquin des Prez:

  28. Ave Maria virgo serena (5:24)


International Record Review

The performances here would surely have delighted [the original dedicatee]. Overall this is beautifully refined music-making – sonorous, soulful and sincere.

” —Simon Heighes
Early Music

‘Grandi’s fine melodic gift is in evidence throughout, as is his imaginatively responsive word-setting. [Musica Secreta’s] deliciously mellifluous sound brings and extra level of exquisite intensity…really delightful. A very great treat.

” —Elizabeth Roche

Technically, aesthetically and tonally many-faceted, and reflecting the major change which marked the era, Grandi comes across as a powerful composer. A lively and full value interpretation, showing no weakness in comparison to the original mixed voice conception in terms of the effectiveness of the piece. With careful transposition, and the instruments filling the bass parts, this altogether succeeds as a convincing interpretation

” —Matthias Lange
American Record Guide

With great care, sensitivity, and musical judgement, the ensemble arranges and transposes the music so that it matches their vocal resources. An attractive humility and fervent earnestness comes through in the performances. Word painting is effectively interpreted and the performance and repertoire decisions are convincing.

” —C. Moore
New Classics

Although considered one of the finest composers of his day, Alessandro Grandi’s music is little known. This premiere recording of his 16 Motets for Five Voices is very welcome.

The Consort

The aims of Musica Secreta are of great interest to all musicians, The singing is first-class throughout the CD: clear, free, compelling, and with nearly impeccable intonation. Indeed, one of the advantages of freely arranging the music is that it can all be sung at a tessitura that suits the singers on hand: there is almost none of the pinched, slightly sharp, vibrato-less singing that one often hears in mixed-voice recordings. This recording is absolutely worth obtaining, for the sake of some really exquisite singing (not to mention the repertoire itself)

” —Sarah MacDonald

[The transposition for female voices] works very well. The ladies of Musica Secreta sound beautiful. Grandi’s melodies fall easily on the ear. An enterprising disc well worth hearing

” —Richard Lawrence
The Independent On Sunday

the singing is never less than vivacious and artful.

” —Anna Picard
The Guardian

Grandi…perhaps second in importance only to Monteverdi. Performances are decently polished and delineated

” —Andrew Clements

Grandi’s music is of excellent quality and shows the features of so much of the sacred music of the time. Musica Secreta is a very fine ensemble, and the five singers on this disc – Deborah Roberts, Tessa Bonner, Katharine Hawnt (soprano), Catherine King (mezzo) and Caroline Trevor (contralto) – have very nice voices which blend excellently. The booklet contains informative programme notes and all the lyrics with an English translation.

” —Johan van Veen

The performances here are clean-cut and shapely… with good recording, especially as heard in the lossless download, and with the booklet containing texts and translations

” —Brian Wilson