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Des Prez: Missa Malheur Me Bat / Motets & Chansons / Liber Generationis Jesu Christi

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 26, 2002
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Virgo Prudentissima
  2. Ave Maria... Virgo Serena
  3. Victimae Paschali Laudes
  4. Baises Moy a4
  5. Que Vous Madame/In Pace
  6. Comment Peult Avoir Joye
  7. Baises Moy a6
  8. Liber Generationis Jesu Christi
  9. Kyrie
  10. Gloria
  11. Credo
  12. Sanctus & Benedictus
  13. Agnus Dei


Product Details

  • Conductor: Edward Wickham
  • Composer: Des Prez
  • Audio CD (November 26, 2002)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Asv Living Era
  • ASIN: B00006L3WP
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #749,676 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Widely acclaimed in his own era and ever since as the greatest of Renaissance composers, Josquin Desprez is poorly represented by the available recorded performances. Reputable ensembles like the Tallis Scholars and the Hilliards have done Josquin no service with their dull and uninsightful CDs of his masses and motets. Josquin was not a pious drudger. His music is airy and elegant, and full of rhythmic energy. His polyphony is as mathematically perfect and proportioned as any by Palestrina or Bach, yet it is as graceful as a chivalric lovesong. How to sing it? One on a part, of course, for acoustic clarity. With total attention to the tempus and prolation indicated on the original manuscript, which amounts to a good deal of variation from slow to fast and from duple to triple beats. All these conditions are met by The Clerks' Group, directed by Edward Wickham, whose sensitivity to this music is unrivaled.

The Clerks' Group has specialized in recording the masses of Johannes Ocheghem, Josquin's senior by 50 years. Josquin rather patently learned more from Ockeghem's music than from any other composer's, but he managed to polish his master's style, to lighten the intellectuality of Ockeghem's masses and to heighten their emotional intensity without sacrificing their theoretical rigor. The Missa Malheur Me Bat is a prime example of a Josquin "parody" mass, that is, a mass based on the melody of a secular chanson that listeners would have recognized. Like Ockeghem, Josquin honed his compositional skills through the creation of shorter pieces of sacred polyphony, called motets. This CD includes an excellent selection of such motets.

Other superior performances of Josquin's masses and motets include:
Philippe Herreweghe & La Chapelle Royale - Stabat Mater
Ensemble Clement Janequin - Missa Pange Lingua
Ensemble Clement Janequin - Adieu. Mes Amours - Chansons
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The interpretations are excellent, but this only rates three stars because of the rather poor singing, especially in the tenor and bass parts - sometimes out of tune and almost always unfocused. The unflattering, over-dry acoustic doesn't help.
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