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Josquin: Masses (Missa De Beata Virgine/ Missa Ave Maris Stella) [CD]

Tallis Scholars, Peter Phillips Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: £13.71 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Josquin: Masses (Missa De Beata Virgine/ Missa Ave Maris Stella) + Mouton: Dictes Moy Toutes Pensees (The Tallis Scholars/ Peter Phillips) (Gimell: CDGIM047)
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Product details

  • Conductor: Peter Phillips
  • Composer: Josquin des Prés
  • Audio CD (31 Oct 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Gimell
  • ASIN: B005SW2RQA
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 117,180 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Missa De beata virgine 38.03 - The Tallis Scholars
2. Missa Ave maris stella 27.56 - The Tallis Scholars

Product Description

Review

The Tallis Scholars' association with Josquin des Prés (c 1450-1521), whose identity remains mysterious despite exhaustive scholarly digging, dates back to the late 80s when their Pange lingua disc won a Gramophone Record of the Year award. In the fifth in their Josquin cycle, they reach the Missa de Beata Virgine probably a late work, widely performed in the composer's life time and surviving in an astonishing 69 sources and the earlier, more serene Ave maris stella. Both, though stylistically contrasting, use chant melody with elaborate canons and mathematical schemes. This exceptional ensemble makes it sound effortless, with impeccable tuning and evenness of tone. Peter Phillips and John Milsom provide invaluable liner notes. --The Observer,23/10/11

Marking the midpoint of the Tallis Scholars'complete projected Josquin cycle,the two works here,based on plainchants,are masterpieces both.The Missa de Beata Virgine seems to have been thought of as such even in its own tie,appearing in 69 different sources,and is notable for a sense of freedom and experiment.The Missa Ave maris stella,on the other hand,is a wonderfully taut,assured construct.For those who revel in structual listening,Phillips and his charges provide readings of remarkable textual clarity.But they also sing with supercharged expresion. --The Times,22/10/11

As with their previous Josquin recordings,The Tallis Scholars here achieve and extraordinary clarity of diction,line and texture. --IRR,Nov'11

Authenticating many of Josquin des Prés's works, both sacred and secular, is a challenge for renaissance musicologists. In the first decades of the 16th century, when the Franco-Flemish composer's fame was at its height, the demand for his works far outstripped the supply; many counterfeits were created, with works by his pupils, as well as by other lesser composers, passed off as having come from the great man. There are even doubts about the authorship of the Credo Quarti Toni, included on the latest disc in the Tallis Scholars' series devoted to Josquin's masses, partly because it only exists in a single manuscript source. But the provenance of the two great works here, the Missa De Beata Virgine and Missa Ave Maris Stella, both canonically intricate and based on plainchant, is secure the turbulent late De Beata Virgine survives in no fewer than 69 sources, while Ave Maris Stella was published in 1505. --Guardian,27/10/11

DISC of the WEEK --Radio 3 CD Review,w/c 05/11/11

Critics Choice 2011 --Gramophone,Dec'11

An essential from a team who never put a note wrong.Excellent,informative booklet notes too. EDITORS CHOICE ***** --Classic FM Magazine,Feb'12

Product Description

The Tallis Scholars - Peter Phillips, direction

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning 15 Nov 2011
By Sid Nuncius #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
This is an absolute stunner of a disc. Ever since their recording of the Missa Pange Lingua became the first early music disc to win the Gramophone Record of the Year award in 1987, the Tallis Scholars have shown a real affinity with Josquin and this is a terrific addition to their growing canon of Josquin recordings.

The two masses here are both canonic in structure, allowing Josquin's astonishing compositional skill to shine and it is fascinating to listen to the virtuosic structures running through these pieces, but the overall impression is of a wonderful, limpid beauty. The disc is simply ravishingly lovely from start to finish. The Tallis Scholars sing with their trademark perfection of intonation and rock-solid technique, which allows them really to engage with the meaning of the text and, without any appearance of artifice, imbue it with a real meaning. Both musically and spiritually, I find this disc a quite remarkable experience.

Peter Phillips's notes are, as always, interesting and very readable and the presentation is very attractive. I have been a fan of the Tallis Scholars for over thirty years now and this has taken its place among my best-loved discs. Recommended in the warmest possible terms.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Tallises still going strong 6 Dec 2011
By E. L. Wisty TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Although I only became acquainted with them a couple of years ago, it's amazing to think that Peter Phillips founded The Tallis Scholars way back in 1973. Although the singing personnel has undergone some changes over the years, Phillips is still going strong, being a meticulous scholar, getting the very best out of his vocalists and producing top class music as evidenced by this new release. The good news is that Phillips has declared that he is still only half way through his projected recordings of Josquin, and with a wealth of other Renaissance composers' material they could tackle too we could be in for similar treats for many years to come yet. The bad news? Well there is no bad news.

These two canonic masses I have only previously heard in slightly substandard performances by French ensemble A Sei Voci, but here they get the treatment they deserve. Whilst not perhaps being Josquin's most immediately arresting works, repeated listening - and a bit of attunement to Phillips' admitted tendency towards "top heaviness" with the sopranos - will imbue the hearer with the full sense of their beauty. As always some brief but interesting notes are provided by Phillips, plus others by Renaissance music specialist Dr John Milsom. Full Latin sung texts provided with English, French & German translations.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hope Springs Eternal 17 Nov 2011
By Giordano Bruno - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I was hoping, based on other reviews and comments, that I would find new vitality in this newest recording by the venerable Tallis Scholars, and in fact there are some vital signs in the performance, gestures of adventuresome interpretation rather than mere choral propriety. I can even sincerely compliment conductor Peter Phillips on taking some risks and showing some insight into "concert" performance of these two polyphonic masses by Josquin des Prés (c. 1455-1521). Note that word "concert!" This is not a liturgical recreation, with plainchant propers, as are most of the best recordings of polyphonic masses nowadays. This is honestly a concert of glorious music, interpreted for maximum affective impact on an audience rather than a congregation. The distinction is what justifies the extraordinary freedom of tempo with which the Scholars sing some of the movements of the two masses -- some inauthentically slow and some almost recklessly fast. That has not been the standard game plan for the Scholars on the past; usually they've been quite stodgy about tempi. You'll hear their new boldness in the very first Kyrie of the Missa de Beata Virgine; the tactus is about 42 beats per minute, far slower than Josquin would have imagined or than any cathedral choristers would have tolerated. {If you ask me how "we" can know what tempi Josquin intended, I'll just snarl at you and send you to the library to read some hefty source material and a sheaf of musicological journal articles. "We" do have a pretty solid idea of the norms of polyphonic singing circa 1500.] The unexpected thing is that I LIKE this new defiance of authenticity from the Tallis Scholars, or rather from Peter Phillips, since it's obviously all his choice.

Nonetheless, most of what I haven't liked about many Tallis Scholar Recordings is still stubbornly unacceptable in this performance. The worst of it is that the music is "top heavy". The soprano voices -- the "top" of the ensemble as modern ears are accustomed to perceive music -- overawes the lower voices from alto to bass, and anybody who has ever sung this music can hear that Phillips conducts the top voice and expects the lower voices to pillow and billow in disciplined subordination. How does he do it? Well, he almost always transposes the music up, from a step to a major third, into the most comfortable range of his women sopranos. Those women sopranos are chosen, or allowed, to sing soloistically, with their richest timbres. Phillips's altos are usually a mixed pair, a woman and a man, which effectively muffles their timbres. The tenors and basses regularly include male voices of considerable skill, but Phillips mutes them, bridles them, makes them all sound sparse and choral-committee-like. The exquisitely balanced polyphony that Josquin composed, with more ease and grace than anyone, becomes in Phillips's mannerisms just a neutral rumble over which the sopranos soar operatically.

One has to acknowledge that Phillips "knows his market". The Tallis Scholars are probably the best known and most often booked for concert tours of any Renaissance vocal ensemble. I'd perhaps be less critical of them if they weren't so annoyingly successful. Want to hear what really artful polyphonic singing sounds like? Here are some possible comparisons:
Guillaume Du Fay: Motets, Hymns, Chansons, Sanctus Papale
Vaet: Missa Ego flos campi
Pierre de la Rue: Requiem; Antoine Brumel: Requiem
Jacob Obrecht: Missa de Sancto Donatiano [CD+DVD]
Ockeghem: Missa de plus en plus & chansons / Orlando Consort

And specifically for a mass by Josquin, sung superbly:
Josquin: Missa Hercules Dux Ferrariae; Miserere mei Deus; Motetti
Josquin Desprez: Musica Symbolica
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning 15 Nov 2011
By Sid Nuncius - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This is an absolute stunner of a disc. Ever since their recording of the Missa Pange Lingua became the first early music disc to win the Gramophone Record of the Year award in 1987, the Tallis Scholars have shown a real affinity with Josquin and this is a terrific addition to their growing canon of Josquin recordings.

The two masses here are both canonic in structure, allowing Josquin's astonishing compositional skill to shine and it is fascinating to listen to the virtuosic structures running through these pieces, but the overall impression is of a wonderful, limpid beauty. The disc is simply ravishingly lovely from start to finish. The Tallis Scholars sing with their trademark perfection of intonation and rock-solid technique, which allows them really to engage with the meaning of the text and, without any appearance of artifice, imbue it with a real meaning. Both musically and spiritually, I find this disc a quite remarkable experience.

Peter Phillips's notes are, as always, interesting and very readable and the presentation is very attractive. I have been a fan of the Tallis Scholars for over thirty years now and this has taken its place among my best-loved discs. Recommended in the warmest possible terms.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Return of the Josquin 6 Nov 2011
By Micky - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Early recordings of Josquin's Masses by the Tallis Scholars were really amazing. Their recordings of Missa Pange Lingua, Missa La sol fa re mi, and two L'homme armé masses deeply and truely impressed me. Since then, I listen to Renaissance music a lot. I still think these were the best of the best Renaissance mass recordings. The Tallis Scholars released two Josquin's masses a few years ago. Unfortunately, either Missa Sine Nomine or Missa Ad Fugam was not so attracting works of Josquin. I was a little disappointed.

Here, Josquin's masterpieces return! I would admit some vocal decline of the Tallis Scholars. However, I feel the return of their earlier recordings when I heard this new release of two masses. I hope The Tallis Scholars continue to release all the other Josquin's masses. Josquin's masses in the Renaissance music period correspond to Beethoven's symphonies in later periods.
5.0 out of 5 stars Not to miss! 20 Feb 2014
By sdj1 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Best recording of this Mass that I have found. Excellent balance in the parts with good dynamics and emotion. I saw the Tallis Scholars perform this live and it was breathtaking. Do not miss this particular Josquin work in your library.
5.0 out of 5 stars Highest Quality Tallis Scholars Performance 6 May 2013
By Scott Reeves - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Five stars for excellence throughout. The music varies in character, voicing and tessitura. While these changes bother many ensembles both in performance and on recordings, Tallis Scholars navigates these treacherous waters flawlessly. Plus the wondrous Robert Campin cover art!
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