Gracejoy | New York, NY United States | 12/08/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I performed Desprez' 'Missa de Beata Virgine' with my choral group and found it so beautiful that I had to have a recording of it. I found this one, and another from A Sei Voci ...Although I do prefer the A Sei Voci recording (which is sung from a different edit that I find more beautiful), this one is also wonderful and deserves its five stars. The Missa, along with some pieces from Mouton, are sung with clarity, precision, and beauty, and Theatre of Voices is certainly a top-quality vocal ensemble. My only complaints with this recording are very minor, and probably only personal to me. I recommend this CD heartily as it is very well sung and is first-rate performance of one of the most beautiful and haunting pieces of Renaissance music. I would also urge you to consider purchasing the A Sei Voci recording."
The Best Choice Available...
Giordano Bruno | Wherever I am, I am. | 12/02/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"... for Josquin's sublime Missa de Beata Virgine, and for anything at all by Jean Mouton, who was Josquin's student and Adrian Willaert's teacher, making him the essential link between the franco-Flemish masters and their North Italian successors. Mouton, of all Josquin's disciples, sounded the most like him, as this performance amply demonstrates. Mouton's polyphonic motets are as serenely beautiful as any music of the Renaissance, but Mouton is almost non-existent on CDs.
Paul Hillier spent some years teaching at the University of California in Davis; while he was there, he put together a 'west coast' version of the Theater of Voices, using several former members of the ensemble Chanticleer together with some excellent women singers. This CD is one embodiment of the 'west coast' Theater of Voices, and it's not as supremely polished as the Hilliards, or any number of British vocal ensembles. The sound is a little too choir-like for my pleasure, but the interpretation - in rhythm and phrasing - is very fine and insightful. If you want to hear Jean Mouton, this is by far the best choice available."