Lasso, Le Lagrime di San Pietro, Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal, C. Jackson
(released on September 28, 2010)
ATMA ACD2 2509 | 52'48"
Le Lagrime di San Pietro
The 18th stanza may have had particular resonance with Lassus, evoking the regret of old age: “My faith would not have encountered so arduous an obstacle / […] If the years and too long a life / Had not borne away with them perception and memory.” Jesus, of course, responds in Latin: Lassus added the 21st stanza, not found in Tansillo’s collection, to the end of his setting. This text refers to the classic Gregorian text for Good Friday O vos omnes, addressed to the witnesses of the Passion, “see if any pain is like my pain.” It personalizes those words, speaking directly to the listener and not just to Peter: “Behold, man, what I suffer for you: I cry unto you, for whom I die.” The musical style is quite simple but not severe, basically homophonic, although with seven parts to work with Lassus creates some limited imitation that enlivens the texture and an approximation of polychoral dialogue between groups of voices. All movements are in the same basic meter, have roughly the same number of tactus groupings (the timing of each movement is surprisingly uniform, at just over two minutes), and are in a series of related keys. Unlike some of his earlier experiments with chromatic harmony, Lassus keeps his harmonic movement fairly limited, using few accidentals.
This fine performance by the Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal, with ten voices spread out over the seven parts, is beautifully captured but certainly not the only one available. The group's director, Christopher Jackson, does decide to stick to voices only, where other groups -- like Livio Picotti and La Capella Ducale Venetia (cpo) and