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Gombert: Church Music [Import]

Brown , O'Keeffe , Gombert Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Audio CD, Import, 2005 $12.85  
Audio CD, Import, 1996 --  

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Product Details

  • Composer: Gombert
  • Audio CD (July 10, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Hyperion UK
  • ASIN: B000002ZWX
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #751,163 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Credo (8vv)
2. Gradual For Easter Day
3. Haec Dies Quam Fecit Dominus (5vv)
4. Qui Colis Ausoniam (6vv)
5. Marian Antiphon
6. Salve Regina ('Diversi Diversa Orant')
7. O Beata Maria (5vv)
8. Vae, Vae Babylon (4vv)
9. Nunc Dimittis Antiphon
10. Media Vita In Morte Sumus (6vv)
11. Lugebat David Absalon (8vv)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Expert renditions of complex works October 15, 2000
By "hcf"
Format:Audio CD
The Franco-Flemish composer Nicolas Gombert is still not very well known. But this is changing. There are quite a few great recordings of his works, and this is one of them. This recording collects some of Gombert's relatively small-scale compositions, including his best known work - Lugebat David Absalon. This piece was formerly attributed to Josquin, but Gombert's authorship is now widely accepted. Incidentally, this piece is also known as Je prens congie, and can be heard in that version on, e.g., Cordoba Vespers/Cheetham or Music from the Court of Charles V/Huelgas Ens. Lugebat David Absalon is an anguished lament of an uncommon complexity: opening with a solo voice, it quickly builds momentum until all eight voices participate, repeating and imitating the main theme. It showcases many of the distinguishing characteristics of Gombert's style: intricate imitation, long themes, absence of rests, and an abundance of low voices. The most peculiar and exciting characteristic of Gombert's writing, to me, is his precocious treatment of tonality. An example of this can be heard most clearly at the beginning of O Beata Maria, or by comparing the treatment of the same melodic motive at the beginning of Lugebat David Absalon and the Eight-Part Credo. By altering imitative responses to the introductory motives, Gombert achieves an unusual alternation between minor-sounding and major-sounding tonalities. Henry's Eight give a very clean and persuasive account of these works.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark and light, thick and thin in Gombert August 19, 2012
Format:Audio CD
Gombert's was without a doubt one of the most unique musical voices of the 16th century. I have seen him compared to Bach, but if we must insist on making these comparisons, the best analogy would be with Beethoven. As Beethoven stretched the language of Haydn and Mozart, so did Gombert stretch the language of Josquin and Isaac.

Perhaps the most obvious way Gombert stretched the language of his predecessors was in his use of dissonances. He very deliberately used tritones, false relations, and even vertical sonorities that we would class as "added-note chords" to widen the spectrum of sounds available for expressive purposes, from perfect consonances to wrenching dissonances. The bold dissonances in Gombert's music drew admiring comments from his contemporaries. Juan Bermudo, a Spanish lutenist, wrote a book (published in 1555) which specifically mentions Gombert's use of false relations (or tritones, depending on whether the two notes in Bermudo's "fa versus mi" are from the same hexachord or not). Three generations later, the organist Francisco Correa de Arauxo wrote a treatise on the organ (published 1626) in which he mentions that Gombert made the best and most frequent use of false relations. Many times these dissonances are not explicitly notated in Gombert's music, since he and his contemporaries relied on performers to inflect certain notes a semitone up or down, especially at cadences, but 16th-century lute and organ transcriptions of the music of Gombert and his contemporaries confirm that these daring sounds were exactly what the composers wanted, since the tablature in which they are notated leaves no doubt as to which semitone is intended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What can I add ... September 13, 2012
Format:Audio CD
... to the detailed and eloquent review of this performance by Mr. Hundhausen except my endorsement of his judgement. This is a spectacular performance, easily one of the best ever accorded to Nicolas Gombert, not only because of the ensemble's insight into the composer's harmonic language but also because of the quality of the voices of "Henry's Eight." There are indeed eight singers, all male, in the consort, and eight is exactly the right number for singing Gombert's heart-touching 8-voice motet Lugebat David Absalon, the Biblical King David's lament for his dead rebellious son. I've said it before: OVPP (one voice per part) is ALWAYS superior for recording Renaissance polyphony. Listen to the expressive independence of the voices, and their precise tuning both of consonances and dissonances, and the clarity of timbres without any aura of white noise or wolf tones! I can't imagine that you - whoever you are - won't hear what I mean.

Clarity/precision of tuning matters more in performance of Gombert's music than in most other 15th/16th C polyphony simply because of his penchant for dense textures and close "spacing" of the various parts. Thus Gombert's style is most effective in the six- and eight-voice motets selected for this CD. Hey, there's nothing weak about the two four-voice motets included! But the six-voice Media Vita in Morte Sumus and the eight-voice Lugebat David Absalon are extraordinary masterworks; once you've listened to the whole CD, those are the pieces you will remember.

It helps that the texts for those two works are intensely affective. Are there any mediocre settings of Media Vita or Absalon, by any composer ever? Gombert's Absalon belongs at the pinnacle of musical expressiveness, alongside the Absalon laments of Josquin and Schütz.
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