Pierre de la RUE
Missa de septem doloribus [55:12]
Missa Ave Maria [37:36]
Missa Sub tuum praesidium [24:44]
Pourquoy tant me fault il [2:07]
Il viendra le jour desire [2:06]
Pourquoy non ne veuil je morir [2:43]
Doleo super te [2:25]
Missa Alleluia [30:28]
Capilla Flamenca/Dirk Snellings (director) with Psallentes/Hendrick
Vanden Abeele (artistic director) on CDs 1 and 2
rec. CD1 – October 2001 and January 2002, Kapel van het lers College,
Leuven, Belgium. CD2 – December 2004–January 2005, Église Saint-Jean,
Beaufays, Belgium. CD3 – 1996, Kapel van het lers College, Leuven,
Belgium (Missa Alleluia); June-July 2005, Parkabdij, Leuven, Belgium
(Pourquoy tant me fault il, Il viendra le jour desire, Pourquoy
non ne veuil je morir, Doleo super te): March 2011, Hervormde Kerk,
Bunnik, Netherlands (Missa Sub tuum praesidium)
Texts and translations
MUSIQUE EN WALLONIE MEW 1159 [3 CDs: 55:12 + 67:56 + 64:33]
This 3 CD box set is very largely a reissue of three single
Musique en Wallonie discs: MEW 0207 0633 and 0525. They were
recorded between 1996 and 2005 but with one important exception.
In March 2011 Capilla Flamenca taped Missa Sub tuum praesidium,
in its world première recording. Given this last detail, it
might be wise not to consider this as a straight reissue, as
it clearly isn’t.
Pierre de la Rue was very probably born in Tournai around 1450.
His earliest years are shrouded in obscurity but, as the booklet
notes make clear, by 1492 he was working in the chapel of Maximilian,
future Holy Roman Emperor. The court for which de la Rue worked
was highly musical, and the surviving Habsburg-Burgundian music
manuscripts contain almost all his music. Several are illustrated
in the beautifully produced booklet but be careful if you try
to open it flat, as the glue binding will disobligingly unstick
Naturally de la Rue followed the court, which was peripatetic.
He travelled to Germany and to Spain, and when Philip the Fair,
Maximilian’s son, came of age the court followed him abroad.
On his unexpected death the court returned to the Low Countries.
The three CDs present an overview of Pierre de la Rue’s compositions
during these years. Unsurprisingly there is concentration on
Marian masses. There are four masses, five motets, a Magnificat
and three chansons. Missa de septem doloribus is a
five- voice setting with plainchant propers inserted. Ingeniously
he also borrowed a phrase from Josquin’s Ave Maria virgo
serena and gives it to the first tenor. Missa Ave Maria
is a late work, and whilst it’s hard to date, may have come
from his last decade. Essentially for four voices, de la Rue
springs a surprise and introduces a fifth in the Credo
and this gives opportunities for greater amplitude. Its celebratory
nature cannot be the only reason why this Mass remained so popular.
Rather, in addition, it’s the breadth of utterance, and the
richness of the setting that demands rehearing. Missa Sub
tuum praesidium is, by contrast, from the early part of
his compositional career. It’s based on a well known Marian
antiphon of the time, and de la Rue’s penchant for variation
is quite audible throughout. An even more extensive setting
comes via Missa Alleluia which sports five voices.
It’s an especially richly textured work, somewhat reminiscent
of Josquin whom we know de la Rue admired, but independent of
this possible model in respect of its clever use of counterpoint
and specific motivic writing.
The various Motets and the Magnificat all confirm to de la Rue’s
strongest qualities. They reveal strong melodic gifts, intelligent
use of imitation, a willingness to explore the upper and lower
ranges of the voice parts without fear, and unselfconsciousness
when it comes to setting melancholy texts. Such a case is Doleo
super te, which is starkly expressive in its gravity.
Capilla Flamenca, directed by Dirk Snellings, prove the best
possible ambassadors for this and Flemish music in general.
Their intonation is excellent, and vocal quality is a given.
The instrumental accompaniments are both apposite and considered.
The recording quality is resonant but not too much so.