Ethereal & poignant. The King's Singers in their element.
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This CD presents the King's Singers performing the very emotionally poignant music of Des Prez. Minor keys prevail, and the Singers communicate the feelings of loss and longing excellently. In this CD the King's Singers demonstrate their technical mastery (with the exception of one noticible pitch problem early on the CD)of early music. They also seem to be more at home in this venue, where metric precision and open vowel production don't sound over-precise or soul-less. Renaissance music fans who may have been put off by the King's Singers' rehashing of popular songs should not miss this. The Singers are performing in their element."
A voice teacher and early music fan
George Peabody | Planet Earth | 07/03/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A PLEASANT LINE-UP OF JOSQUIN'S 'GEMS'
Josquin Despres (1440-1521) was the central musical figure of the early Renaissance, and his sensitivity to the moods of his texts and the expressions of his compositions - some 20 Masses, 100 Motets and 80 secular works are extant - set him apart as a pioneer in his day.
Established in 1968 and originally affiliated with King's College, Cambridge, from whence comes their name, this sextet of Englishmen combines musical excellence with a diverse repertoire, ranging from folk songs to madrigals to contemporary pop hits. The group's universal appeal stems from its unique ability to communicate the sheer enjoyment of a vast and eclectic repertoire.
The personnel of the group changes slightly from year to year, but the BASIC sound is the same. However, there are often changes of individual voice parts that affect interpretation, tone quality and emotional investment. The sextet of King's singers on this disc sang with a great deal of finesse that I had not heard from them in a while. The singers are: David Hurley & Alastair Hume (countertenors) and it's to Hurley & Hume that I attribute much of the beauty of sound since they are singing the treble that leads the rest of the group- Robert Chilcott (tenor)- Bruce Russell & Simon Carrington (baritones) and Stephen Connolly (bass).
Somewhat lacking in this recording is the emotional intensity that should have conveyed the varied moods of these selections. BUT it's an excellent 'listen' for the Josquin admirer.
Must mention my favorite Josquin recording recently released of the Medieval Ensemble of London that has a group of singers that are 'top-of-the line' and have been for many years, under the direction of Peter and Timothy Davies. Decca January 1984.Two masses : 'Missa di dadi' and 'Missa Faysant regretz'. Check it out."