Vox Silentii - Passio Sanctarum Filiarum

Vox Silentii - Passio Sanctarum Filiarum
Artist: Vox Silentii
Duration: 59:11
Release Date: 2006
Album: Passio Sanctarum Filiarum
Styles: Vocal Music
Genre: Classical

The medieval chants collected here have the common theme of being dedicated to female saints. It's appropriate, then, that a women's ensemble should be performing them. Finnish group Vox Silentii consists of two singers, Hilkka-Liisa Vuori and Johanna Korhonen, with exceptionally pure and supple voices. Their intonation is usually immaculate, but there is a spot in the antiphon Nigra sum sed formosa where it either slips a little or the modal writing abruptly gets uncharacteristically chromatic. Many of the chants are in unison, but they occasionally break out into two parts, to a blossoming effect. Vuori and Korhonen perform with hushed reverence, and the chants are consistently quiet, devotional, and slow-moving, making this an ideal album for quiet meditation.

The recording is extremely resonant, to the point where it may be necessary to reduce the volume to avoid ringing in the ears; at a low level, it's very soothing, though. A minor quibble: the way the singers are miked, the words that end in "s" are strident and exaggerated, creating a little explosion of sibilance that disrupts the mood of serenity that they establish so well otherwise. These issues don't disqualify the album, but make it hard to recommend without reservation, which is a shame, since, for the most part, the performances are lovely and serene.

Title/ComposerPerformerTime
Helena Uesgocie, alleluia for St. Helen of SwedenVox Silentii4:23 Amazon
Flavit auster, great responsory for St. Mary MagdalenVox Silentii5:18 Amazon
Beata mater Anna, great responsory for St. AnnVox Silentii3:39 Amazon
Ante thorum virginalem, sequence for St. Barbara (from the Codex Cumoensis, Kokemäki)Vox Silentii6:45
Vidi civitatem, great responsory for November 1Vox Silentii3:55
Spes datur omni populo, alleluia for the Visitation of St. MaryVox Silentii3:17 Amazon
Audi filia et vide, alleluia for St. CeciliaVox Silentii2:59 Amazon
Veni electa mea (alleluia), gradual (from the Uskela mass book)Vox Silentii4:24 Amazon
Salve sancta parens, introit for St. MaryVox Silentii3:12
Nobilis et pulchra, alleluia for St. Catherine of AlexandriaVox Silentii3:13 Amazon
Stabat iuxta Christi crucem, sequence for the Compassion of St. MaryVox Silentii5:37 Amazon
Nigra sum sed formosa, antiphon for St. MaryVox Silentii3:01 Amazon
Gloria in excelsis, troped with "Per precem piissimam" (from the songbook of the church of Ilmajoki)Vox Silentii6:15
Post dies octo, alleluia mode 8Vox Silentii3:13

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