Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Johannes Ockeghem, Antoine Busnois, Johannes Pullois|
Ockeghem: Missa Prolationum: 5 Motets
Genres: Special Interest, Classical
Listen to Samples
One of the highlights of the Clerk's group Ockeghem series
Sator | Sydney, Australia | 08/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Johannes Ockeghem (c1410 - 1497) was a composer who had one of the most far reaching impacts on the history of music. He was also the father of the musical form of the canon. So whether it is a canon by a modern composer, by Bach or by Pachabel - all these are but ripples of the impact that this man had on the destiny of Western music. However of all of the surviving works - there is a sadly lost 36 part mass cycle - the Missa Prolationum is the one that shows the grandiosity of his musical vision, his audacity and the genius of his mind perhaps far greater than any other. Ockeghem is the father of period of flowering of Renaissance music that after him reached a peak of complex richness that has perhaps never had its equal since. On his death the finest composers in Europe gathered together to pay him tribute - including Josquin, la Rue, and Obrecht.
The Mass is a canon cycle in which different sections of the choir sing the canon simultaneously at two different tempi (prolationum refers to different subdivisions of the whole note) - in other words it is a double canon. The cycle progresses with each section starting with a double canon at the unison, then at the second, third and so on up a double canon at the octave. It all sounds phenomenally complex in theory but listening to the work, the results have an effortlessly fluent yet powerful impact of unflagging communicative power.
The recording here by the Clerk's group has much to recommend it. While many still swear by the recording by the Hilliard that recording is becoming difficult to obtain and some may prefer the use of sopranos in place of countertenors. At times the Clerk's group convey a greater drama and urgency that overall they compare favorably to the more subdued and introspective approach of the Hilliards.
The recording however is rather on the dry and boxy side with a grainy texture. In fact the recording from Musica Ficta under Bo Holten from Naxos sounds better than this - indeed they also have a recording of the Missa Prolationum. The Clerk's group couple their Mass with works by Josquin and Busnois.
One of the finest things about this release is the excellence of the program notes written by none other than Rob Wegman - a major authority on the music of these times, especially Obrecht - and a work that he argues strongly to be by him, Humilium Decus, is also included here in this recording. Program notes so good as to be worth special mention are as rare as hens teeth but Wegman's notes are a true model of their kind.
All things considered the recording overall still deserves to awarded five stars and if the quite nicely varied coupling suits then this should be seriously considered in choosing a recording of the Missa Prolationum - a work that is a perfect introduction to this composer."