Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Josquin Desprez, Ockeghem, Edward Wickham|
Missa Ecce Ancilla Domini / Ave Maria / Motets
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The Voice of the Century!
Giordano Bruno | Wherever I am, I am. | 05/29/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Fifteenth Century, that is. Johannes Ockeghem was renowned in his lifetime for his profound bass voice, capable of B-flats below the staff. Standard pitch then was around A460, but still he must have had an amazing vocal instrument. Like most composers, he wrote to his own specs; the bass lines of his masses and motets are challenging both in range and in rhythmic complexity. Ockeghem's greatness as a composer was not unrecognized in his era. It led to clerical sinecures that made him extremely wealthy.
The two motets on this CD - Intemerata dei mater & Ave Maria - are among his most acessible to modern listeners, easy to appreciate for their melodic beauty even if the intricacies of composition go unnoticed. Ockeghem's music is intricate. His polyphonic lines stretch beyond the lung capacity of most chorists, making phrasing a challenge, and their almost irrational independence of each other sounds like abstract improvisation... until everything merges in his splendid cadences. The mass Ecce Ancilla Domini is also one of Ockeghem's most immediate and least intellectual - though non-intellectual for Ockeghem is still astrophysics for most composers - which makes this an excellent CD choice for anyone unacquainted with the founding genius of Renaissance vocal music.
Jacob Obrecht and Josquin des Pres were both 50 years younger than Ockeghem. But since Ockeghem lived to 87, their careers overlapped with his. Unquestionably they were both disciples of his art. Josquin's "Deploration at the Death of Johannes Ockeghem" is as moving a tribute to a musical master as any ever written. Obrecht's motet "Salve Regina" pays that sincerest sort of tribute, imitation.
The Clerks' Group has now recorded most of Ockeghem's surviving music. They are unsurpassed at it; they have what baseball fans call "ownage" on Ockeghem. Singing one on a part, they bring off the most complex rhythmic intertwinings without ever sounding metronomic. Their tuning is flawless, and their vocal balance is far superior to such competitors as The Tallis Scholars and the Hilliard Ensemble, at least on this repertoire. Every one of their Ockeghem releases is priceless."