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.
|Helena Uesgocie, alleluia for St. Helen of Sweden||Vox Silentii||4:23||Amazon|
|Flavit auster, great responsory for St. Mary Magdalen||Vox Silentii||5:18||Amazon|
|Beata mater Anna, great responsory for St. Ann||Vox Silentii||3:39||Amazon|
|Ante thorum virginalem, sequence for St. Barbara (from the Codex Cumoensis, Kokemäki)||Vox Silentii||6:45|
|Vidi civitatem, great responsory for November 1||Vox Silentii||3:55|
|Spes datur omni populo, alleluia for the Visitation of St. Mary||Vox Silentii||3:17||Amazon|
|Audi filia et vide, alleluia for St. Cecilia||Vox Silentii||2:59||Amazon|
|Veni electa mea (alleluia), gradual (from the Uskela mass book)||Vox Silentii||4:24||Amazon|
|Salve sancta parens, introit for St. Mary||Vox Silentii||3:12|
|Nobilis et pulchra, alleluia for St. Catherine of Alexandria||Vox Silentii||3:13||Amazon|
|Stabat iuxta Christi crucem, sequence for the Compassion of St. Mary||Vox Silentii||5:37||Amazon|
|Nigra sum sed formosa, antiphon for St. Mary||Vox Silentii||3:01||Amazon|
|Gloria in excelsis, troped with "Per precem piissimam" (from the songbook of the church of Ilmajoki)||Vox Silentii||6:15|
|Post dies octo, alleluia mode 8||Vox Silentii||3:13|