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Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A virtuoso performance, 31 Jan. 2011
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This review is from: Josquin Desprez: Stabat Mater (Audio CD)
Any new disc of Josquin deserves investigation. There's a range of stuff out there, from the unlistenable to the sublime, and thankfully this fresh recording is at the latter end of the spectrum. Seven member all-male German outfit the "Dufay Ensemble" perform with one voice per part. While combining two voices per part may require some skill to seamlessly blend, with a single voice there is no hiding any foibles; but here there are none, nor any loss of power and presence whatsoever for having a smaller group of personnel. The performances, the combination, the pacing are all faultless.

At the risk of being heretical I would even say that this disc surpasses the Josquin material I have heard by the Tallis Scholars and the Hilliard Ensemble. I had thought that I possessed the definitive performance of "Miserere mei" in that by De Labyrintho in their excellent Dux Ferrera disc, but the Dufay Ensemble have delivered a serious contender to that accolade in their rendition of Josquin's setting of Psalm 51. It's definitely straight into my top three Josquin discs along with the aforementioned De Labyrintho and the Orlando Consort's disc of motets.

1. Stabat mater (à 3)
2. Domine exaudi orationem meam (à 4)
3. Pater noster/ Ave Maria (à 6)
4. Déploration sur la mort de Johannes Ockeghem (à 5)
5. Benedicta es, caelorum regina (à 6)
6. Miserere mei Deus (à 5)

Digipak with booklet containing notes and lyrics along with English and German translation.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 4 Feb 2011 18:14:26 GMT
Last edited by the author on 4 Feb 2011 18:14:50 GMT
Sid Nuncius says:
Thanks for this review - and for drawing my attention to the disc in your Josquin list. I own and share your enthusiasm for many of the discs, but this one is new to me. It will be in my collection very shortly!

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Feb 2011 19:27:59 GMT
E. L. Wisty says:
Thanks SN. I've bought a number of Josquin & other discs on the basis of your reviews and glad to return the service; hope you like it as much as I do. Was listening again today to the Medieval Ensemble of London Faysant regretz/Di dadi disc, might supplant this Dufay Ensemble disc into my current top three but it's a close run thing.

Although I wouldn't ever stop collecting Josquin I'm trying to branch out a bit into the likes of Ockeghem, Gombert et. al. Any recommendations for starters?

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Feb 2011 23:51:20 GMT
Hello ELW - and SN too if you see this - glad to know you share my delight in this Josquin programme. Branching out? - judging from your other reviews, you seem to have done plenty of that already! But just one suggestion - if you haven't yet heard volume 1 of the Leiden Choirbooks, performed by the Egidius Kwartet and College, I'd strongly recommend this remarkable 2-disc set. Not only a fine Missa Beati Omnes by Gombert, but many other equally lovely things by lesser-known figures - above all an irresistible Missa Sancta Maria by Mr. Anonymous. Great music and performances, sumptuous presentation, and a promise of lots more to come! The Leiden Choirbooks Vol.1

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Feb 2011 07:46:59 GMT
Last edited by the author on 5 Feb 2011 08:04:25 GMT
Sid Nuncius says:
Hello, ELW and SM. I wonder whether we should form a Josquin fan club - Les Josquineurs, perhaps? Thanks for the suggestion, Stephen: duly noted.
Suggestions? Don't get me started. :o)
For Gombert, to start with you might try The Hilliards Gombert - Missa Media Vita and The Henry's Eight, Gombert: Church Music both of which are fantastic.
Ockeghem? Any of The Clerk's Group's discs on AVG ( the Requiem's a belter). It's a real shame that their box set has been discontinued - if you ever get the chance, snap one up. I also really like The Tallis Scholars Au Travail Suis disc Ockeghem - Masses.
I also love Pierre de la Rue ( contemporary of Gombert) and both Incessament and La Rue: Missa Cum Iocunditate, Motets are terrific recordings.

I'm also a big fan of both The Brabant Ensemble and Cinquecento (both on Hyperion) who have unearthed a lot of obscure but excellent stuff by people like Vaet, Phinot, Crecquillon and others I'd never heard of. Terrific ensembles and great music.

Hope that's helpful.
Kind regards

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Feb 2011 15:29:59 GMT
Last edited by the author on 7 Oct 2013 19:31:03 BDT
Les Josquineurs - nice idea, and maybe Les Josquinettes for the ladies? ... although I suspect that, if the great man were still with us, he might well take the view that he doesn't need a fan club. Sid, I absolutely agree with your recommendations for Gombert, and would only add to these the eight Magnificats, sung by the Tallis Scholars over 2 CDs: Gombert - Magnificats 1-4 Gombert - Magnificat 5 - 8. Eight Magnificats may sound like a few too many - but not a bit of it, thanks to Gombert's inventiveness and profundity and the matching brilliance of the Tallis Scholars. One more suggestion for fans of Gombert: Philippe Rogier's parody mass on the former's motet "Ego sum qui sum" - both mass and model wonderful works, and quite beautifully sung by Philip Cave's group Magnificat: Philippe Rogier Missa Ego Sum

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Feb 2011 18:28:40 GMT
Sid Nuncius says:
Yes agreed on all counts. I must say that I have to take the Gombert magnificats one or two at a time, but they are terrific. They're now included in a bargain box by the Tallis Scholars, by the way: Various: Sacred Music in the Renaissance Vol. 3 (Si Bona Suscepimus/ Magnificat/ Salve Regina/ Stabat Iuxta). It's a cracker all round and includes their recordings of John Browne which is one of my favourite discs of all. And I love the Rogier, too. Magnificat are really excellent - their Tallis disc is outstanding and I wish Cave would record more with them.

Have you seen the Gramophone list of Top 20 Choirs? I'm surprised that the Tallis Scholars are only at No. 13 (personally I rate them much more highly than The Sixteen), but nice to see Stlie Antico in there.

Sorry. Rambling now.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Feb 2011 14:14:27 GMT
E. L. Wisty says:
Thanks for the recommendations both of you, especially those TS boxed sets which I had completely missed. Sets 1 & 2 have some overlap with what I already have (though should still be economic to get) and set 3 has no overlap at all. All duly slapped on the wishlist.

At this rate I'll have no money left to eat...

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Feb 2011 18:14:02 GMT
Sid Nuncius says:
Well, money's not that tasty, so I shouldn't worry about it.
Glad it was of some help.
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Review Details



E. L. Wisty

Location: O'er Hill And Dale

Top Reviewer Ranking: 179