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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


Passion
Johannes TINCTORIS (1435-1511)

Lamentationes Jeremiae
Guillaume DUFAY (c1400-1474)

Victimae paschali
Vexilla Regis
Josquin DES PREZ (c1460-1521)

Victimae paschali
Heinrich ISAAC (c1450-1517)

Easter Mass Proper
Loyset COMPERE (c1450-1518)

Crux triumphans
Jacob OBRECHT (1457/8-1505)

Salve crux
Orlando Consort
Recorded Orford Church, Suffolk 18-19 May 1995
METRONOME MET CD 1015 [62.16]
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This ravishing disc of fifteenth century music gives us Passion settings of incomparable beauty. Liturgical polyphony here centres on the choral commemoration of the Passion and the Resurrection and is reflective of the states of feeling as the days of grief pass to ecstatic joy, as Maundy Thursday leads through Good Friday and on to Easter Sunday. Stylistically the range is from simple polyphony to complex cantus firmus (Obrecht) and shows the dazzling range of the genre in all its glory.

The least well known of the composers is Johannes Tinctoris, better known for his musical treatises. His setting would have been sung during Tenebrae and is an evolutionary polyphonic setting of real stature which belies his reputation as a scrupulous pedant. Compere worked in Milan and died a Canon and was a leading composer of the Josquin generation. His choral setting Crux triumphans is affecting if, to me, lacking the technical flourishes of Josquin himself or the fabulous complexity of Dufay. Rightly it is Dufay who crowns the disc. His setting of Vexilla Regis is one of spacious grandeur, unfolding eloquence and profoundly elevated tone and they are magnificently effective in this performance by the Orlando Consort, realised with passionate conviction.

Josquin’s Victimae paschali is a four part motet and the notes relate that it employs a cantus firmus combination – an ingenious use of songs by two contemporary composers, the famous Ockeghem and the less famous Hayne van Ghizeghem, maybe in imitation of Obrecht, one of whose favoured devices it was. This is another in Metronome’s impressive series of discs, beautifully sung – expressively and technically – and outstandingly recorded. A fine booklet has texts and notes in four languages.

Jonathan Woolf



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