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Ockeghem: Missa Ma maistresse; Missa Caput

The Clerks' Group , Edward Wickham Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: £11.68 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Ockeghem: Missa Ma maistresse; Missa Caput + Ockeghem: Missa l'homme arme / Missa sine nomine + Ockeghem: Missa Cuiusvis toni; Missa Quinti toni
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Product details

  • Audio CD (22 July 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Decca (UMO)
  • ASIN: B00000DMJI
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 63,717 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Kyrie - Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, The Clerks' Group, Edward Wickham, Paul Proudman
2. Gloria - Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, The Clerks' Group, Edward Wickham, Paul Proudman
3. Ma maistresse - Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, The Clerks' Group, Edward Wickham, Paul Proudman, Johannes Ockeghem
4. A solis ortus cardine - Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, The Clerks' Group, Edward Wickham, Paul Proudman, Anonymous
5. O sidus Hispanie - Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, The Clerks' Group, Edward Wickham, Paul Proudman, Anonymous
6. Gaude Maria - Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, The Clerks' Group, Edward Wickham, Paul Proudman, Anonymous
7. Venit ad Petrum - Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, The Clerks' Group, Edward Wickham, Paul Proudman, Anonymous
8. Kyrie - Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, The Clerks' Group, Edward Wickham, Paul Proudman
9. Gloria - Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, The Clerks' Group, Edward Wickham, Paul Proudman
10. Credo - Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, The Clerks' Group, Edward Wickham, Paul Proudman
11. Sanctus / Benedictus - Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, The Clerks' Group, Edward Wickham, Paul Proudman
12. Agnus Dei - Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, The Clerks' Group, Edward Wickham, Paul Proudman

Product Description

Missa caput - Missa Ma Maistrese (+ Motets anonymes) / The Clerks' Group, dir. Edward Wickham

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Available once again! 9 Aug 2012
By E. L. Wisty TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
I had despaired of ever being able to complete my collection of the Clerks' Groups' Ockeghem discs, several of them having been unavailable for some time (well, except for second hand copies from chancers expecting a three figure sum). But now out of the blue come two re-releases, this and Ockeghem: Missa Cuiusvis toni; Missa Quinti toni. All hail ASV Gaudeamus! May their paths be strewn with rose petals, and may angels carry them to their rest. Hopefully the remaining out of production discs will appear soon too.

In Renaissance composer terms Ockeghem defies description owing to the stylistic variety within his works. In the modern parlance applied to "popular" musicians of our own time he would probably be described as continually "reinventing himself".

First up here is the Missa "Ma Maistresse", based upon Ockeghem's chanson of the same name also included here, for which sadly only the Kyrie and Gloria survive. Probably a late work, it uses quotations, reworkings and parodies of the source, making it among the first of the "imitation" or "parody" masses. This is, as the booklet notes, very much a "lighter, sunnier aspect" to Ockeghem, with its higher vocal ranges.

In contradistinction comes the Missa "Caput", taking its name from a long melisma on the final word "caput" in a piece of English Sarum chant "Venit ad Petrum" (also included on this disc), which was used as the basis of an anonymous English Missa "Caput" (excellently performed by the Gothic Voices on
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant surprise 4 Nov 2001
By Charles J. Kershner - Published on Amazon.com
I recently had the opportunity to hear The Clerks' Group in concert at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., in an acoustically superb auditorium. While I enjoy medieval music in infrequent doses, this is a group I could listen to virtually non-stop. They sang several selections from this outstanding CD -- enough to let me know this was a disc I not only wanted but needed for my music library. The Masses are hauntingly beautiful as are the motets, and I especially find them a way to relax after a strenuous day or week producing our 155 year old weekly newspaper. The Clerks' Group and their exquisite sound was a pleasant surprise -- in person and on CD.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slight correction 11 Jan 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
I was delighted to see an online review of this fine recording, and I have little to add to it except for two minor factual corrections. There was an earlier recording, released on vinyl in the U.S. on Nonesuch, of the Missa Ma Maitresse, (a very good recording that also included some rarely heard motets... I forget the name of the performers), and the Capella Cordina or possibly the earlier Yale group under Alejandro Planchart recorded the Missa Caput, to contrast the Dufay composition on the same concept. Planchart claims that the Caput is definitely apocryphal, but I gather that is somewhat controversial.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Morning and Evenings Ragas... errr, Missas! 1 Jun 2008
By Giordano Bruno - Published on Amazon.com
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There are more ways to sing and hear the polyphonic masses of the Renaissance than somber choral piety. Of course, it helps to be sensitive to the indications of mood and message in the musical score. Edward Wickham and the Clerks' Group adapt their vocal technique and ensemble spectacularly to the very different expressive characters of the two masses performed on this CD.

Missa Ma Maistresse (my mistress) is all sunshine and tinted glass, as light-hearted as the chanson upon which it is based. This expressive character is no happenstance. Ockeghem achieves it by shifting his usual distribution of voices toward the trebles and by thinning the complexity of his polyphony to feature extended duets, a tactic also adopted by Josquin in the next generation. He multiplies it by his choice of the transposed Ionian mode (modern F major), which Renaissance theorists regarded as Jovian, hyper-cheerful, even lascivious. Edward Wickham further emphasizes the jolly quality of this mass by taking much brighter tempi than are usually assumed for choral performances, and by using women's voices on the treble lines.

Missa Caput is written in the Dorian mode (D to d on white keys only), which was the mode of meditative sobriety, and the commonest mode of all polyphonic masses by a wide margin. Ockeghem assigns the greater part of thematic statements to the lower voices, and carries the bass to the bottom of the singer's range. The mass is built chiefly on descending figures. Wickham assigns all parts to male singers, restrains his male altos from over-balancing the tenors and basses, and sets much darker, slower tempi throughout. [There has been scholarly disagreement about the authenticity of this mass as a composition by Ockeghem. Other composers of sufficient skill were to be found in Ockeghem's era, and it could well be that the greatest of them all is utterly lost to history. All I have to say is that Missa Caput, performed this well, seems worthy of Ockeghem.]

Missa Ma Maistresse is truncated; only two movements survive, alas, even though it seems to have been a product of Ockeghem's later and most acclaimed period. However, the chanson on which it's based, written by a younger Ockeghem, is included on this CD and performed quite imaginatively. Only the treble sings the words; the tenor and bass sing solfeggio vowels, with the result of greater textual clarity and a charmingly sincere love plaint. Three motets not by Ockeghem but of the same era, taken from an anonymous manuscript called Trent 88, fill out the expressive mood of Ma Maistresse and prepare the listener for the transition to Missa Caput.

This is a very appealing performance, one that might serve, with its sparkling variety, to introduce new listeners to the genius of Johannes Ockeghem. No other ensemble has recorded so many of Ockeghem's great masses, and only the Orlando Consort has ever performed them as well.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Previous (vinyl) recordings. 19 Sep 2006
By Scott D. Atwell - Published on Amazon.com
With regard to the group that recorded the Missa Ma Maistresse (above)--

It is the Pomerium Musices, directed by Alexander Blachly. And yes, the Missa Caput (which several scholars consider to be a canonical work) was recorded on vinyl by Planchart et al.
3 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Definitely not my favorite... 22 Feb 2004
By Boileau0663 - Published on Amazon.com
Ockeghem is one of my favorite composers and I have highly praised elsewhere his "Missa de plus en plus" by the Orlando Consort.
I have found this recording by the Clerk's Group pleasant enough but it is nevertheless definitely not the kind of cd I would take to a hypothetical desert island if I could only take a few belongings to my place of exile.
This performance lacks vigour, emotion and a good acoustics. I wouldn't know which characterization is the most accurate but I suspect that lack of first-rate acoustics accounts for the dry quality of the sound of this recording.
Most pieces are sung by only two or three voices and as a result you don't find in this performance the radiant and powerful quality of other late medieval or Renaissance choral music that bathe you in an blissful and exalted ocean of sound. Some of the pieces are so slow that they almost become soporific.
If you really love late medieval and Renaissance music I think you should really look elsewhere. I recommend "The Essential Tallis Scholars" , "Perotin" by the Hilliard Ensemble, Desprez's "Missa Pangue Lingua" by the Organum Ensemble and any of the gorgeous Venetian masses (coronation, Christmas and Easter masss) by the Gabrieli Consort under the direction of McCreesh.
The duration of "Ockeghem: Missa Caput, Missa Ma Maistresse, 3 Motets / The Clerks' Group, Wickham" is a little more than one hour. The Clerk's Group is a small mixed choir (but on this cd you hear mostly the male voices).
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