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Music for Milan Cathedral by Hermann Matthias WERRECORE (c.1500–after 1574) and contemporaries
Details after review
Siglo de Oro/Patrick Allies
rec. 22-24 April 2019, Chapel of Merton College, Oxford. DDD.
Texts and translations included
Reviewed as 24/48 download with pdf booklet from
DELPHIAN DCD34224 [66:28]

Maestro di cappella at Milan Cathedral for almost thirty years, Werrecore is only now receiving attention on record; I have no reason to doubt the claim that all the music here, except the Josquin and Gaffurius works, is receiving its premiere recording. This ground-breaking album mingles the motets from Werrecore’s first book of sacred motets with music by his predecessors and contemporaries. He seems to have regarded the word ‘motet’ as a novelty: the title describes them as quos motetta vocant – what they call motets. They range from praise of the Virgin Mary (three motets or, more strictly, antiphons for Compline and hymns for Vespers) to settings of the psalms and the Good Friday Improperia or Reproaches, Popule meus (O my people, what have I done unto you?).

The influence of Josquin is apparent in Werrecore’s music, and it’s none the worse for that. Indeed, I thought most of it worthy of comparison with his model, two of whose Marian works are also included, together with one by Werrebeke, another older Fleming and another first recording. Why Josquin, a fellow Fleming, should have flourished and Werrecore languished in obscurity is far from obvious. Perhaps his ‘foreign-ness’ marked him out; he is regularly referred to in the records as flandrensis (Flemish).

I last encountered Siglo de Oro and Patrick Allies on a recording of Hieronymus Prætorius’ music for Easter on another ground-breaking Delphian recording (DCD34208 – review). Both there and on their earlier Advent-tide recording, dubbed by John Quinn ‘a marvellous disc’, they make a very good case for the music (DCD34184 – review).  The new recording continues the good news.

I enjoyed it so much that I’ve copied it to my Sony Walkman, the modern digital version of which which can cope with up to 24-bit sound, to play next time I have to while away two hours in our local shopping mall while my wife tries to find what she wants. A cup of cappuccino and music of this heavenly quality and the time goes quickly.

The recording is ‘only’ at 24/48, but it does full justice to these fine recordings – and have it for just £11.99, less than you would expect to pay for 24-bit. (16-bit comes at £9.99). If you know and love Josquin, don’t miss The Tallis Scholars’ latest, penultimate volume in their series of recordings of his music. John Quinn thought this ‘mandatory’ – review. My own, equally appreciative, review is forthcoming as I write; I’ve made it a ‘Recommended’ recording (Gimell CDGIM052). Buy that and you should be ready to move on to this new selection of Werrecore’s music for Milan Cathedral; I can hardly withhold the same ‘Recommended’ status that I’ve given to the Gimell. May we have more, please?

Brian Wilson

Hermann Matthias WERRECORE (c.1500–after 1574)
Cantuum Quinque Vocum Quos Motetta Vocant , Book 1 (1559) Inviolata, integra et casta es Maria [6:52]
Franchinus GAFFURIUS (1451–1522)
O sacrum convivium [2:30]
Hermann Matthias WERRECORE
Popule meus [11:59]
JOSQUIN des Prez (c.1450–1521)
Alma redemptoris mater/Ave regina cælorum [6:12]
Hermann Matthias WERRECORE
Proh dolor [2:51]
Ave maris stella [10:19]
Inclina Deus meus [7:05]
Gaspar van WEERBEKE (c.1445–after 1516)
Ave regina cælorum, mater [3:50]
Hermann Matthias WERRECORE
Beati omnes qui timent Dominum [6:01]
Dominique PHINOT (c.1510–c.1556)
Homo quidam fecit [3:25]
JOSQUIN des Prez
Inviolata, integra et casta es Maria [5:19]

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