I often buy CDs, play them and think - "Oh, this is lovely." Occasionally I find a recording which is just breathtaking on first hearing, and this double CD is one of those. It is simply mesmerising. Josquin's music is among the most beautiful ever composed, and here there is a selection of some of his finest work. There are deeply moving motets like "De profundis clamavi", the lament on the death of Ockeghem, some lighter and delightful chansons, a great mass setting and Josquin's overwhelmingly lovely setting of the 51st psalm "Miserere mei Deus" - one of the glories of the Renaissance, in my view. The set also includes one of my favourite pieces ever, the setting of "Lugebat David Absalon", now thought to be by Nicholas Gombert.
The Hilliard Ensemble do this great music proud. That haunting Hilliard sound is there, beautifully capturing the spirit of the music, and the standard of musicianship is superb. There are several outstanding Josquin recordings available - by the Tallis Scholars, for example - and these discs stand with the best of them. They are simply magnificent.
I know that prices vary from time to time, but as I write this the cost of this double CD is just under six pounds. Not only first-rate music, but an incredible bargain, too. Recommended in the highest possible terms.
on 29 September 2014
The more I listened to this double CD the more it grew on me. The music is simply breathtaking and one can understand why many consider Josquin to be the supreme Flemish composer of the Renaissance. The beauty and intense feeling conveyed in the sacred music is stunning. The motet Miserere mei Deus is the highlight for me counting amongst the most beautiful works of the Renaissance but this is by no means the only work of genius - the lament on the death of Ockeghem, Veni Sancte Spiritus and De profundis clamavi are superb pieces in their own right as is the mass.
The lighter secular songs add variety and a whimsical touch.
If like me you are not very familar with the music of Josquin this is a good starting point presenting a wide range of some of his best compositions.
The singing is excellent and beautifully controlled.
A very valuable addition to my collection.