In my rave review of Antony Pitts directing Tonus Peregrinus' on Naxos in medieval choral music from the Notre Dame School I commented that I thought you could faintly hear rain falling as Rebecca Hickey gave a ravishing account of Perotin’s Beata viscera.
I made contact with Antony after posting and asked him if I was correct. He is one of the switched-on musicians who understands the importance of music weblogs, and he came straight back with this helpful answer.
Pliable (in haste) - indeed it is. Beata viscera was recorded on our last morning in Chancelade Abbey, before a mad dash to the airport, so we couldn't wait for the rain to stop...
So now there are three excellent reasons to buy this Naxos CD. First, because you get seventy minutes of the most gorgeous singing you will hear for a very long time. Secondly, because if you are an audiophile you can test the resolution of your gear, and impress your buddies, with the Perotin raindrops test. And thirdly, because you can't hear the rain on low-res MP3 it gives you a great reason to keep supporting musicians by buying good old fashioned CD's. I must emphasise that the noise doesn't detract at all from the music. Listening intently on both my B&W Nautilus 803s and top end Sennheiser HD580 headphones I can just hear rainwater gurgling in downpipes. It is just a lovely touch which adds a unique sonic signature to a beautiful recording.
Antony also supplied useful information about his new work XL. It is a companion piece to Tallis' Spem in alium and has just been released on Harmonia Mundi. The scoring is for eight choirs, SATBarB, BBarTAS,BBarTAS, SATBarB, BBarTAS, SATBarB, SATBarB and BBarTAS, and the Faber published score gives three alternative layouts for the choir. It could be an interesting new option for programme planners who are scheduling the Tallis 40 part motet. .
If you enjoyed this post take an overgrown path to Classical misunderstandings - Hildegard