Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Josquin Desprez, Johannes Ockeghem, Capella Alamire|
The Early Josquin
Genres: Classical, Latin Music
Listen to Samples
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Music & Emotion | Fairlee, VT | 12/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Until I heard this CD the first time I considered early music rather bland. Was I wrong! Capella Alamaire and Josquin create an atmosphere and mood that is hard to describe. The compositions of Josquin seem to be out of this world, and the voices sound like voices of Angels. This CD is incredible spiritual, but also very uplifting.
This is by far the most beautiful vocal music I have ever heard and I have become a huge fan of Josquin's Music. So much so that I started a web site, www.josquindesprez.com"
With Bated Breath and Fingers Crossed...
Giordano Bruno | Wherever I am, I am. | 03/20/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"... is how I await the shipment of a new Josquin CD by any but the well-proven ensembles, especially when the CD includes a mass never recorded by anyone else. I'm not a collector; I'm a listener. Is it better to have a mediocre recording of great music, or no recording at all? I usually tilt toward the latter.
Capella Alamire is not unknown to me. I've heard several of their performances, including a solid recording of three masses by Ockeghem under the title "Music of the Modes." They're an ensemble strong on interpretation, less strong on vocal glory since they choose to sing two or three on a part and thus to sound 'choral.' As it turns out, this Josquin recording is older than the Ockeghem, but it's new to me, and the "Missa L'ami baudechon" is the one Josquin mass I've never heard sung, though musicologists have labeled it as Josquin's first. Not much hesitation here: pop! in the cart!
The program notes with the CD, written by director Peter Urquhart, do let the cat out of the bag; there's really no solid information about the chronology of Josquin's compositions, and "L'ami baudechon" might not be early at all. What has led to that assumption is the relatively 'old-fashioned' structure of the mass, using a 'tenor' composed of long notes -- a cantus firmus -- rather than distributing the polyphony to all parts. On the other hand, the rhythmic style of the mass, with its multiple levels of "perfect" tempo (tempo in three) suggests a polished and masterful maturity. I find myself unconvinced about the musicological concerns, but thrilled by the music. This is a different Josquin, a more ebullient and sunny Josquin, and part of the difference is simply the mode - C major Ionian. Urquhart explains that no text can be made to fit the tenor cantus firmus, so on this CD it is played on trombone, very effectively and vocally, by Mack Ramsey.
My breath has been bated long enough; I'd better declare that this is a splendid performance, rich with rhythmic understanding and expressive vitality. The disk is filled out with a reconstructed Magnificat by Josquin and three detached Credos, one by Ockeghem and two 'probably' by Josquin. The credos are examples of the "village" style - du vilayge - that music historians have not yet succeeded in explaining. Ordinary listeners, however, will spot a characteristic robust exuberance in them. Altogether, this is an engaging program, revealing a confident spirituality in the usually pensive master.
Capella Alamire is an American ensemble, with close associations to schools in Massachusetts. Perhaps the paucity of funds from private and public sources in the USA accounts for the small number of recordings from this creative consort of singers. Surely it's time to refund the National Endowment for the Arts as part of our economic and cultural recovery from so many years lost in the bushes."