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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful disc, 4 May 2010
Sid Nuncius (London) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Crecquillon: Missa Mort m'a privé (Audio CD)
This disc is a very beautiful and extremely interesting collection of chansons, motets and a mass setting from the court of Charles V of Spain around 1540, after the death of Charles's Queen, Isabella. Crecquillon served at the Spanish Imperial court at this time and most of these pieces (including the mass) are related to Isabella and her death. Crecquillon's music was new to me and I am extremely glad I tried it with this disc - it is rich, very skilfully composed and extremely beautiful. The funerary pieces are dark and dense and the final motet here, Congratulamini mihi, is a joyful and glowing celebration of Christ's resurrection.

The Brabant Ensemble, formed in 1998, are now well established as world-class performers of this repertoire, and they have done us a great service here in bringing Crecquillon's music to wider attention. They sing superbly on this disc - they are technically excellent, with flawless intonation and an excellent blend and balance, and they express the relationship between text and music beautifully. The recorded sound is excellent, as always with Hyperion, and the notes very interesting and informative.

In short, it's a cracking disc. I love it and and recommend it very warmly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Death has deprived me, 14 Jun 2012
E. L. Wisty "World Domination League" (Devon, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Crecquillon: Missa Mort m'a privé (Audio CD)
When King of Spain and Holy Roman Emperor Charles V's beloved wife Isabella died in 1539, he commissioned artists to create memorials - Titian to paint a number of posthumous portraits, and his admired court composer Thomas Crequillon wrote two versions of a chanson, "Mort m'a privé", to put into words Charles' deep sense of loss.

Both chansons were employed, along with two other chansons on this disc, "Oeil esgaré" and "Le monde est tel", in the creation of the main work here, the Missa "Mort m'a privé". The funereal theme continues with three motets, one ("Cur Fernande pater") for the obsequies of Charles' niece Elizabeth, the second ("Praemia pro validis") for his companion Maximilian of Buren, and the third ("Caesaris auspiciis") for some unknown general. It's not all doom and gloom however, as the programme ends on a high note with the joyful "Congratulamini mihi", a celebration of Christ's resurrection.

I have to admit that, although their mission to record music of lesser known 16th century Franco-Flemish composers is highly admirable, I struggle rather with Stephen Rice's Brabant Ensemble at times. I'm not sure whether the recording quality or acoustic space used is lacking, or whether the multiplication of voices per part (presumably 4 voices per part in the mass given the performer list) is not blending very well, as I usually struggle with textual clarity. From other discs I have thought the latter, but here even in the chansons where there is only one singer per part, I still struggle with textual clarity in the performance. It baffles me.

The accompanying booklet provides interesting notes by Martin Ham, and full Latin and French sung texts are supplied with translation.
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Crecquillon: Missa Mort m'a privé
Crecquillon: Missa Mort m'a privé by The Brabant Ensemble (Audio CD - 2006)
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