Pierre De La RUE
Heinrich ISAAC (ca.
Missa pro defunctis [22.27]
Mitgleider des Rundunk-Kinderchors
Berlin, Paul Funk
Capella Lipsiensis, Diethrich Knothe
BERLIN CLASSICS 0031022BC
This recording includes two works by Flemish composers of the 15th and 16th
centuries, Pierre de la Rue and Heinrich Isaac, contemporaries of the great
Flemish composer Josquin des Prez.
Heinrich Isaac worked in many countries, and was influenced by the variegated
musical traditions of the time. From his native Netherlands, he travelled
to, and worked in, both Florence and Vienna. His mass, Missa Carminum, is
based on popular songs which he wove into the texture of his polyphonic vocal
Pierre de la Rue also travelled, to the court of Burgundy, where he was exposed
to Spanish music, and where he met Josquin des Prez. His requiem on this
recording is a unique work, where the melodies are focused on the lower
registers. This makes for an interesting texture, as the two to five parts,
sing their intricate counterpoint.
Both of these works come from a time when plainchant was changing and becoming
more melodic - one can hear the influence of Gregorian chant, which sometimes
serves as a base for the more varied melodies.
Parts of this recording are very difficult to listen to. The singers, especially
the basses, use a vibrato that is simply annoying. There are sections where
the singers' parts move relatively quickly, and the vibrato, mixed with these
melodies, makes it impossible to follow the music. In addition, the basses
are much too present in the mix - in the de la Rue requiem, they are the
"lead" voices. They dominate the recording, giving it a balance that sounds
incorrect. The final result is a disagreeable, aggressive sound that does
not do justice to the music.
This 1970s recording disappoints by its overuse of vibrato and the uneven
mix, which muddles music that relies for its strength on clarity of lines
and of their interaction.
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