Buxtehude: Membra Jesu Nostri
Given 5 stars by The Guardian this new recording from Magdalen College is a must for any classical collection.
This remarkable recording marks the first relationship on disc between an ensemble and the label Opus Arte, until now known for DVDs of live opera, ballet and theatre. Its new partnership with the choir of Magdalen College, Oxford, one of Britain's oldest and finest choral institutions, begins with Buxtehude's sublimely tender 1680 meditation on the crucified Christ, Membra Jesu Nostri. In the future, we are promised works by the glorious John Sheppard, a 16th-centuryinformator choristarum at the college, and contemporary pieces from Matthew Martin, a former Magdalen scholar recently given a British Composer award. If this new Buxtehude recording is any indication they should be exciting additions to the catalogue. Membra Jesu Nostri is a cycle of seven cantatas, each contemplating a part of Jesus on the cross: feet, knees, hands, side, breast, heart and face. John Mark Ainsley, Robin Blaze and Giles Underwood owe their careers to the time they spent in this choir and return to sing with an intensity suitable to the intimately sensuous nature of the work, ably supported by the choir and its particularly fine trebles. String playing is outstanding throughout, with the viol consort Phantasm deliciously taut and sinewy in the lovely sixth cantata, Upon the Heart. ***** --Guardian , 30/3/14