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Clemens: Requiem/ Penitential Motets CD

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Conductor: Rice
  • Composer: Jacobus Clemens Non Papa
  • Audio CD (4 Jan. 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Hyperion
  • ASIN: B0049BX0GW
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 121,134 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Missa pro defunctis Requiem'
  2. Tristitia et anxietas
  3. Vae tibi Babylon et Syria
  4. Erravi sicut ovis a 5
  5. De profundis
  6. Vox in Rama
  7. Peccantem me quotidie
  8. Heu mihi, Domine

Product Description

Product Description

The Brabant Ensemble - Stephen Rice, direction

Review

If Rice and his choir have not set Clemens Non Papa back on the pedestal he enjoyed during his life with this disc,there is no justice. ***** --Classic fm Magazine,Feb'11

The Ensemble does full justice to the brilliant Tristitia et anxietas,and the De profundis is thrilling. Performance & Recording **** --BBC Music Magazine,Feb'11

This another fine release by an ensemble that coud be stemming from the same tradition as The Tallis Scholars,i.e a chamber choir bringing before the public little-known repertoire,the worth of which it passionately believes in.it does it every bit as well,too. --IRR,Feb'11

The Brabant Enemble sing this with admirable clarity,assisted by a very transparent acoustic and recorded sound image. EDITORS CHOICE --Gramophone,Mar'11

Customer Reviews

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By Sid Nuncius #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 5 Feb. 2011
Format: Audio CD
This disc is well up to the excellent standard set in The Brabant Ensemble's previous recordings. While Clemens non Papa is not exactly a household name he is perhaps better known than some of the almost forgotten composers of the Renaissance whose work have they been unearthing for some time now. However, he is still badly under-represented in the catalogue and this is a very welcome recording - all of the works here were new to me and all are very good indeed.

The Missa pro Defunctis is extremely beautiful and has an air of serenity about it rather than the dark passion which smoulders in some Requiem settings. Stephen Rice describes it as having an "austere beauty" which is true, although to me it's not that austere in many places, being full of melody and beauty. The motets are a varied selection which show Clemens's exceptional compositional skill, which Rice explains very well in his characteristically interesting and scholarly notes. The whole disc works very well not only as a showcase for Clemens's music but also as a lovely, involving and rewarding programme.

The performance by the Brabant Ensemble is excellent as always, with impeccable intonation and a lovely balance and blend which sounds fabulous and never obscures individual lines. I do wonder whether the Miss pro Defunctis might have been given a little more of the missing dark passion in places, but that's probably just a personal thing and certainly doesn't spoil my enjoyment at all. It is a disc of beautiful music, beautifully performed and very warmly recommended.
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Format: Audio CD
The previous reviewer, Sid Nuncius, has already summed up this beautiful disc perfectly, and I heartily agree with his comments both on the music of Clemens non Papa and on the quality of this recording by the Brabant Ensemble. So, rather than repeat any of that, I will try to summarise the other available recordings of Clemens' music.

It is true that this wonderful composer, very highly regarded in his own time, has been unfairly neglected on disc until recently; but I do believe that the situation is starting to improve. One positive sign is that, of the few CDs devoted entirely or mainly to Clemens, each one has plenty to offer and there is not a single dud among them. The most obvious recommendations would be the previous issue by the Brabant Ensemble of the Missa Ecce quam bonum Clemens Non Papa - Behold, how joyful (Mass and Motets), the Tallis Scholars' Missa Pastores quidnam vidistis Clemens Non Papa: Sacred Choral Works, and the fascinating programme "Clemens non Papa - priest and bon vivant" Clemens Non Papa - Priest and Bon Vivant. This latter consists of a fine miscellany of mostly secular works, both instrumental and vocal - including a heartfelt rendering, from the excellent wind players of La Caccia, of "Continuo lacrimas", the beautiful lament written on the death of Clemens by his younger contemporary and friend Jacobus Vaet.
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By E. L. Wisty TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 6 Nov. 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It would be simply pointless for me to go over the same ground as the previous reviewers, who give a full, true and accurate picture of this recording. I will simply note my agreement that this disc is of the same high standard as all the Brabant Ensemble's releases.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clemens non Papa 19 May 2011
By Bruce A. Mcdonald - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Clemens is hardly a well-known figure in the Flemish Renaissance, but this CD should help set the record straight. The informative booklet shows, because of a recent letter, why he was called "non Papa" (not Clement the Pope!). He was evidently a real rounder, a habitual drunk, and one who did NOT observe his vows of celibacy! His music is extremely fine; the first exposure many of us had to it was via a recording made by the Tallis Scholars some 20 years ago. A few years ago, this same REQUIEM was performed by a good group in Seattle, but Hyperion's recording is superior in its tone quality and evenness. The Brabant Ensemble is making a well-deserved name for itself with its fine recordings of lesser-known Renaissance figures (their last disc, of music by Thomas de Crequillon, was superb), and they give a splendid performance of this fine music. This will be a CD to return to again and again for lovers of the music of this period. More, please!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent disc 17 Mar. 2011
By Sid Nuncius - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This disc is well up to the excellent standard set in The Brabant Ensemble's previous recordings. While Clemens non Papa is not exactly a household name he is perhaps better known than some of the almost forgotten composers of the Renaissance whose work have they been unearthing for some time now. However, he is still badly under-represented in the catalogue and this is a very welcome recording - all of the works here were new to me and all are very good indeed.

The Missa pro Defunctis is extremely beautiful and has an air of serenity about it rather than the dark passion which smoulders in some Requiem settings. Stephen Rice describes it as having an "austere beauty" which is true, although to me it's not that austere in many places, being full of melody and beauty. The motets are a varied selection which show Clemens's exceptional compositional skill, which Rice explains very well in his characteristically interesting and scholarly notes. The whole disc works very well not only as a showcase for Clemens's music but also as a lovely, involving and rewarding programme.

The performance by the Brabant Ensemble is excellent as always, with impeccable intonation and a lovely balance and blend which sounds fabulous and never obscures individual lines. I do wonder whether the Miss pro Defunctis might have been given a little more of the missing dark passion in places, but that's probably just a personal thing and certainly doesn't spoil my enjoyment at all. It is a disc of beautiful music, beautifully performed and very warmly recommended.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful renaissance Requiem 8 Sept. 2012
By Stephen Midgley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The previous reviewers, Sid Nuncius, GB and others, have already summed up this beautiful disc perfectly, and I heartily agree with their comments both on the music of Clemens non Papa and on the quality of this recording by the Brabant Ensemble. So, rather than repeat any of that, I will try to summarise the other available recordings of Clemens' music.

It is true that this wonderful composer, very highly regarded in his own time, has been unfairly neglected on disc until recently; but I do believe that the situation is beginning to improve. One positive sign is that, of the few CDs devoted entirely or mainly to Clemens, each one has plenty to offer and there is not a single dud among them. The most obvious recommendations would be the previous issue by the Brabant Ensemble of the Missa Ecce quam bonum Behold, How Joyful: Mass and Motets by Clemens Non Papa, the Tallis Scholars' Clemens Non Papa: Missa Pastores quidnam vidistis, and the fascinating programme Clemens Non Papa: Priest and bon vivant. This latter consists of a fine miscellany of mostly secular works, both instrumental and vocal - including a heartfelt rendering, from the excellent wind players of La Caccia, of "Continuo lacrimas", the beautiful lament written on the death of Clemens by his younger contemporary and friend Jacobus Vaet.

Next, there are two fine discs from the U.S. of A. - firstly a Mass and motets sung by the Choir of the Church of the Advent, Boston, directed by Edith Ho Jacobus Clemens non Papa: Missa Gaude lux Donatiane; Motets; and secondly another recording of the Requiem Jacob Clemens Non Papa: Requiem & Motets, this performance standing up extremely well in the company of the present CD. If pushed I would have a slight preference for the Brabant version of the Requiem, but Douglas Fullington and the Tudor Choir nevertheless give us an excellent and well-performed programme, with several other works including the superb original sung version of "Continuo lacrimas" as well as a fine Magnificat.

There are also a number of mixed programmes available which include works by Clemens non Papa, and two of these are especially fine: one is a brilliant disc entitled "Reges terrae" Reges Terrae: Music from the Time of Charles V [Hybrid SACD], with many splendid works by various composers, gloriously sung by Nordic Voices and including Clemens' ethereal motet "O magnum mysterium"; the other is Jacobus Vaet's beautiful parody mass on Clemens' motet "Ego flos campi", which of course includes the Clemens model Vaet: Missa Ego flos campi.

The other good news is that there is more on the way. There are plenty of works by Clemens - most of them hitherto unrecorded, and in many cases unknown for several centuries - contained in the recently rediscovered Leiden Choirbooks. Both Volumes 2 and 3 of this current series of recordings, by the Egidius Kwartet & College, include several Clemens pieces - with Volume 2 De Leidse Koorboeken, Vol. II (The Leiden Choirbooks, Vol. II) including the beautiful motet "Maria Magdalena" and three settings of the Magnificat, and more fine motets in Volume 3 Leiden Choirbooks III. In addition, Philip Cave and his ensemble Magnificat have recorded Philippe Rogier's superb parody mass on yet another glorious Clemens motet, "Inclita stirps Jesse", and again the Clemens piece is included Music From the Missae Sex.

Returning to the present CD, then, the Brabant Ensemble continue to do a great service to lovers of renaissance music with this contribution to their excellent series devoted to some of the lesser-known composers of the period. In the case of Clemens non Papa, in addition to the group's obvious insight and commitment under the superb direction of Stephen Rice, their voices have an attractively fresh, youthful quality which seems to me ideally suited to the music of this most approachable of renaissance masters.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In a word...beautiful 5 Mar. 2012
By Pete - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I can't say much more than others here already have. This disc is just amazing. It's astonishigly beautiful right from the first track.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What's This? Another Five-Star Review ... 8 Aug. 2012
By Gio - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
... of a performance about which I have definitely mixed feelings! Hey, I couldn't give it less! Jacob Clemens (1515-1555) may not have been Pope, but he was one of the finest composers of his era and his Missa pro defunctis is a mass-terpiece of polyphony. The twelve musicians of The Brabant Ensemble sing beautifully, with the sort of ethereal timbres that often gets described as "angelic voices." The performance is high on serenity, with tempi so relaxed that one needs to be impressed by the singers' breath control. Singing this music this slowly is NOT easy, my friends. These timbres and these tempi would qualify as "soothing" or "meditative" for most listeners. No, I can't say that I don't like it ...

... but I'm not sure I want to hear everything from this ensemble sung in this same style. It's too slow, it's too smooth, and it's too soprano-dominated. There's a lot in this music that one doesn't hear in such a performance. However pretty the soprano and alto voices sound, the music itself demands more strength from the tenors and basses. A complex distribution of "attention" among the multiple voices is the central characteristic of "Franco-Flemish" polyphony. Singing of and hearing of polyphony is most satisfying when all four (or five or six) voices extend their musical rhetoric independently. That's what I nearly always miss in performances by ensembles from the English choral tradition. The beauty is there but the mind is not engaged.

Mind you, tempi were not "absolute" in the 16th C. The metronome hadn't been invented. But there were ample indications in the notation -- in the choice of 'prolation' for instance -- as well as descriptions of performance practices in the treatises of Glareanus and other musical theorists. There's no historical justification for the consistently adagio tempi of the Brabant Ensemble.

There is also no historical justification for singing a 16th C mass with mixed voices. The Brabant Ensemble uses women singers on both the soprano and alto lines, and frankly the women of this group have bigger voices than the men, who sound more "supportive" than independent, rather like college lecturers whose wives are high-power CEOs. Pitch was also far from absolute in the 16th C; staff notation was intended to express relative pitch and mode rather than standard one-pitch-per-line/space. Transpositions were normal, especially when no instruments were involved, as was by far the most common case. The Brabant Ensemble doesn't violate any "rules' or rubrics by choosing the highest possible ranges for their interpretations, but they it so consistently that it must be by necessity, to suit their women singers, than by musical logic.

If the Brabant Ensemble sounds to you a lot like The Tallis Scholars, and if my reservations about their performances sound similar to my criticisms of that renowned and over-estimated ensemble, it should be no surprise. Same tradition, same strengths, same weaknesses. By and large, to my ears The Brabants are the better of the two groups, chiefly because their conductor Stephen Rice has a more sensitive ear for phrasing and a less oppressive baton than Peter Phillips of the Tallises.
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