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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstandingly good, 25 July 2013
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Sid Nuncius (London) - See all my reviews
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This is a fabulous disc of Josquin's music. Josquin himself was arguably the greatest of the Renaissance composers (and probably among the greatest of all composers) and De Labyrintho do his music proud here. They are a mixed ensemble with impeccable intonation and technique, and also fabulous poise and balance which brings out the depth of quality and meaning of these lovely works.

I have dearly-loved recordings of all the pieces here but this is at least their equal. The two major works are the great mass setting for Hercules, Duke of Ferrara and Miserere mei, Deus, Josquin's magnificent setting of the 51st Psalm. Both are wonderfully performed. The mass is a joy, with De Labyrintho breathing real spiritual meaning into every line without it ever becoming ponderous, and it is truly beautiful in many places.

Miserere mei, Deus is even better. It is a magnificent piece, and one of the true glories of the Renaissance, in my view. I have a number of recordings of it, including two absolute gems by The Hilliard Ensemble and Cinquecento. This is as good as either, which is really saying something. Pacing the piece somewhere between the two, it has real weight but never drags and the colours and variety are wonderful. De Labyrintho really understand the work's structure and how it relates to the meaning of the text, and it glows from start to finish. I think it is really something special.

Excellently recorded in a perfect acoustic which is resonant but doesn't blur the sound or individual lines, this is an outstanding disc all round. I think it is one of the very finest Josquin recordings available (which is really saying something) and very, very warmly recommended.

(I would also strongly recommend any of The Tallis Scholars' superb Josquin discs(e.g. Tallis Scholars Sing Josquin), the Hilliard Ensemble at budget price Josquin - Missa Hercules Dux Ferrariae / Motets and a fabulous disc of Richafort and Josquin from Cinquecento Richafort: Requiem (Hyperion: CDA67959).)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent performances and recording!, 1 Dec 2011
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Duncan R. McKeown "Mozartian" (Norwich, Norfolk UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Josquin: Missa Hercules Dux Ferrariae, Miserere, Motets (Audio CD)
I have not too much to add to the previous reviewer, except to say that I agree with his opinion completely. Just to add that I think the acoustics in this recording are ideal. Sometimes we get excellent singing and dry acoustics...or, conversely, over-reverberant voices. This is as near perfection in ambience as I've ever heard, more like the interior of the Pazzi Chapel than The Florence duomo, to use a Renaissance analogy. The intimacy serves the music well, the engineers should be complemented along with the talented singers. I must confess to having an unhistorical preference for female voices in this repetoire, but this recording has it both ways by having the ladies in the motets, and the countertenors in the Mass...an acceptable compromise, methinks!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sublime recording, 17 Dec 2010
By 
E. L. Wisty "World Domination League" (Devon, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Josquin: Missa Hercules Dux Ferrariae, Miserere, Motets (Audio CD)
Josquin DesPrez was a master of polyphonic composition, and here in the hands of Italian outfit "De Labyrintho" his work is displayed to perfection.

This disc offers pieces composed by Josquin during his relatively brief period of employment by Duke Ercole I of Ferrera from 1503-04:

1. Salve regina (motet à 5)
2. Missa Hercules Dux Ferrariae - a mass based upon a cantus firmus derived from an encoding of the syllables of the Duke's name into musical notes.
3. Virgo salutiferi (motet à 5)
4. Miserere mei, Deus (motet à 5) - Josquin's setting of Psalm 51 (most famously set by Allegri) is a relatively sparse and restrained piece in terms of its complexity by his usual standards, but this is undoubtedly amongst the most beautiful of his creations, here in an epic 17 minute performance which is probably the best individual recorded piece of Josquin I have ever heard - for this one track on its own the disc would be a must have. There is an interesting possible historical footnote to this composition, that it may have been commissioned by the Duke as a testament to the Dominican friar and fellow citizen of Ferrera Girolamo Savonarola who had been executed by the church in 1498; Savonarola had written a meditation on this Psalm while awaiting execution, and the austere style of Josquin's piece matches that of Savonarola himself and his dislike of polyphony.

Digipak with booklet; notes in Italian and English, Latin lyrics included but no translation.
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Josquin: Missa Hercules Dux Ferrariae, Miserere, Motets
Josquin: Missa Hercules Dux Ferrariae, Miserere, Motets by Ensemble De Labyrintho (Audio CD - 2009)
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