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Gombert: Magnificats 1-4 Import

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Audio CD, Import, January 8, 2002
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Gombert: Magnificats 1-4 + Magnificats 5-8
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

Nicolas Gombert (c. 1495-1560) composed texturally complicated music. If at first it seems murky, its captivating counterpoint--which is almost always polyphonic, without a break for a straight, homophonic line--eventually delights just because of this complexity. These four settings of the Magnificat depend heavily on lower men's voices, making the texture even darker, and the result is rich and velvety. Sometimes Gombert writes for two voices twirling around each other, sometimes for as many as eight. The result is always fascinating, and Tallis Scholars, finely tuned and loving every troublesome dissonance, perform this music as well as we might want. If these pieces, probably composed for the down-in-the-dumps Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, don't exactly make one want to dance, they will certainly interest fans of rich tapestries in music. --Robert Levine

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
  • Sample this album Title - Artist (Sample)
1
30
1:53
2
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11:29
Album Only
3
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1:47
4
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0:42
5
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11:09
Album Only
6
30
0:45
7
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0:32
8
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12:19
Album Only
9
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0:36
10
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0:24
11
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12:06
Album Only
12
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0:38

Product Details

  • Performer: Nicolas Gombert, Tallis Scholars, Peter Phillips
  • Audio CD (January 8, 2002)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Gimell UK
  • ASIN: B00005RT53
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #359,569 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on August 5, 2005
Format: Audio CD
--Nicholas Gombert--
Like many of his generation, details of his life are somewhat hard to come by - it is believed Gombert was born in 1490 in southern Flanders. He probably studied with the great composer Josquin during his retirement in the years leading up to 1520. Employed by emperor Charles V as a singer in his court chapel in 1526, he later became master of the boys for the royal chapel. He traveled with the emperor, and eventually was appointed chorus master at Tournai, and probably he spent much of his life there after 1534.

Records indicate Gombert was convicted of molesting a boy and sentenced to hard labor; later pardoned, he returned to Tournai by the 1550s (when his Magnificat settings were published). By 1561, he was dead, but it is not certain exactly when that happened, either.

--Magnificats 1-4--
It is said that Gombert wrote the eight Magnificat settings (four of which are on this disc, and four of which are on a companion disc) as an offering to the emperor to gain his favour; Charles V was apparently so moved by them, he granted Gombert's release. Gombert was highly influenced by Josquin, but is rather more fond of dissonance than he. Gombert is a strong link in the chain of composers between Josquin and the later, great Palestrina. Strong polyphony is present in the Magnificat, traditional pieces of liturgy derived from the Song of Mary, the prayer of the Blessed Virgin Mary after the Annunciation.

There is variety as the verses in the Magnificats vary - even verses in polyphonic, odd verses in chant. There is also a momentary clash or dissonance at the end of a cadence, intentionally, and that can be heard in this recording.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. Hecht on January 14, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have listened to this recording five times over the past several days, each time hoping that I will hear something that makes an impression upon my heart and/or soul rather than just upon my eardrums. Alas, it has not come to be. Gombert has become one of my favorite renaissance composers of sacred music, but if I only had this disc to listen to, such would not be the case. The Tallis Scholars have performed a noble musicological deed in collecting all eight settings of Gombert's Magnificat. Yet there seems to be no real depth here. Part of the problem stems from the recording techniques used, which result in the music having a one-dimensional (OK, two-dimensional) quality. The voices come over as being dry, even harsh at times, placed within an unappealing and boxy spatial setting. Mr Phillips' direction seems to remain satisfied with a kind of technical proficiency that leaves little energy for attention to warmth and beauty. I feel as if I was invited to a feast and then, just when I reached the table abundant with a beautifully prepared meal, someone pulled hard on the table cloth and it all came crashing down onto the floor. Too bad!
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By Stephen Midgley on January 1, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Mary's song in praise of God, the Magnificat (My soul doth magnify the Lord) has been a remarkable source of inspiration to composers over the centuries. Within its short, rich text it covers a variety of emotions, narrative drama, powerful imagery, and even some scurrilous political content about stuffing the rich and deposing the mighty. Among composers who have responded with music worthy of this uplifting hymn are Clemens non Papa, Lassus, Palestrina, Victoria, Monteverdi, Schütz, Bassani, Bach and his sons J.C. and C.P.E.; and I've no doubt other readers could add many more.

Prominent among these many fine works is Gombert's magnificent series of eight settings - composed, according to one very plausible historical source, as an act of penance and a plea for forgiveness after the composer had been convicted and punished for a serious transgression in the course of his duties as chapelmaster to Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. Be that as it may, the result is one of the truly great masterpieces of renaissance music - a coherent and unified set of eight Magnificats, each one basing its principal motif on one of the eight traditional chants or modes. Thus each of these settings is quite distinct, as Gombert uses the simple melodic line of each chant to create a powerful, rhythmical motif which is then developed in the form of intensive, muscular and infinitely varying polyphony through the subsequent verses.
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Gombert: Magnificats 1-4
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