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Mass of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin

1 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 15, 2000
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 15, 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • Run Time: 75 minutes
  • ASIN: B00004U2KO
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #863,514 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
5 stars for the music, 1 star for the performance.

This is one of the worst recordings of Renaissance sacred music known to me. In fact, I consider it so bad that I fear its ready availability and relatively low price will do more harm to the composer than good. The higher voices are at best reedy, but frequently shrill. Their entrance in the sublime Sanctus to the "Missa de Septem Doloribus" substitutes the bleating of sheep for what should be the serenity of seraphim. The lower voices are better, but not enough to save performances that prevent the music from coalescing satisfactorily for more than moments at a time. A pity, because this is beautiful music that has still not received as much attention as it deserves. Even the rhythmically stiff, instrumentally-accompanied recordings of the 60s serve the music better than this - at least those musicians were competent, which cannot always be said of the performers on the present disc.

This selection may have seemed tempting even a few years ago, but with the composer starting to receive more performances from excellent groups like Capilla Flamenca, the Clerk's Group, Henry's 8, Viva Voce, and others, as well as fine older recordings by the likes of the Hilliard Ensemble, Ars Nova, and Ensemble Clement Janequin, the curious are advised to look elsewhere before purchasing this dire production.

La Rue's Requiem (Missa Pro Defunctis) is an excellent place to start, and has been recorded by a few of the groups I recommended above. Additionally, the Capilla Flamenca released a gorgeous and well-received recording of the "Missa de Septem Doloribus", which is immeasurably better than the one on the present disc, and a second disc containing La Rue's "Missa Ave Maria" is already available from some venues.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Let's be very blunt. I don't like the way this ensemble sings this music, but you will find little choice if you want to hear these profound compositions by Pierre de la Rue, one of the most brilliant contemporaries of Josquin. The price is low enough; perhaps you'll find the vocal technique less of an obstacle to your listening pleasure.

Months later: I'd forgotten what I wrote about this disaster until I tried to listen to it again. It's worse than I first thought. The amazing thing is that the Ars Antiqua de Paris is a venerable ensemble, founded in 1965. It's a disservice to Pierre da la Rue, a very great composer, to keep this beast in circulation. If you really want to hear Pierre de la Rue, and you should want to, I can recommend three 5-star CDs:
The Clerks' Group: de la Rue & Brumel Requiems
The Clerks' Group: de la Rue Missa de Sancta Cruce
Gothic Voices: de la Rue Missa de Feria & Missa Sancta Dei genitrix
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Format: Audio CD
I must agree with the previous reviewers. I picked this up in a used CD store, and while the music sounds as though it might be worth hearing, the performance is so dreadful that I had to turn the CD off after about ten minutes. I can tolerate different acoustics, and different group sounds without difficulty. What I cannot ignore is the hideous intonation displayed by this group. If you can't sing acapella music in tune, you have no business singing it.
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Mass of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin
This item: Mass of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin
Price: $14.06
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