The Brabant Ensemble
continue their investigation into unknown jewels of the Low Countries Renaissance, researched by their director Stephen Rice
and recorded with equal amounts of passion and erudition by the young singers of the group.
Cipriano de Rore was and is principally known as a madrigal composer, and, as Stephen Rice writes, 'blended the contrapuntal complexity of Low Countries polyphonic style with Italian poetic texts to create a newly expressive vernacular genre'. This recording represents something of a new departure in presenting some of the least well-known aspects of the output of a composer who is justly famous in other fields.
The album contains two Mass settings based on French chansons, Missa a note negre
on a composition by Rore himself, and Missa Doulce mémoire
, which takes one of the sixteenth century's greatest hits, by Pierre Regnault dit Sandrin (c1490 after 1560) as its inspiration. Also included are three motets. Fratres: Scitote
is apparently a unique instance of composition to its text: St Paul here tells the story of the Last Supper, in which Jesus takes bread, blesses and distributes it, and thereby institutes the ritual of Holy Communion.
Born in the southern Netherlands around 1515, Cipriano de Rore made his career and secured his reputation in Italy. He's chiefly known today for his influence on the development of the Italian madrigal and particularly for his expressive musical setting of poetry. Stephen Rice and his admirable Brabant Ensemble show how Rore's feeling for secular words and verbal imagery informed his approach to the composition of sacred music. Both of the Latin masses on their latest album are based on existing French songs, the one used for the Missa a note negre written by Rore himself. The chanson Doulce mémoire , as Rice points out in his illuminating booklet notes, ranked among the 16th century s greatest hits. **** --Sinfini Music , 16/08/13
The Brabant Ensemble's campaign in favour of neglected composers finds another worthy candidate. --Gramophone, Sept'13
Another recording to treasure from the members of the Brabant Ensemble. Long may they continue. --IRR, Sept'13
The Brabant Ensemble is very experienced in this type of repertory, and achieves some magical effects in the Doulce memoire mass, especially with the aid of the atmospheric chords in the Sanctus and the ethereal intertwining of the vocal line sin the Benedictus. Performance **** recording **** --BBC Music Magazine, Nov'13
These are highly expressive performances- the Mass more intense than the Tallis Scholars . --BBC Music Magazine, Oct'14