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on 27 September 2014
de Orto is a lesser composer than his greatest contemporaries, and the Mi-Mi mass for me is competent but not wonderful. Contrast the Homme arme mass which gets a wonderful performance to match the much more inspired music. (That birds join in at the end of a couple of sections is an added bonus!) Worth buying for the 2nd mass alone; though it is good to have a recording of the Mi-Mi mass as well to add to de Orto's limited discography! The Sound and the Fury are on good form in this recording, their voices lifting together wonderfully at many points - long may they continue exploring this less-known repertoire!
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Amongst the Renaissance Franco-Flemish composers being rediscovered in modern times, Marbrianus de Orto would probably be justifiably miffed in being still rather under-recorded. As a singer he was good enough to merit a stint in the Sistine Chapel choir, and as a composer was amongst the first to have the honour of his work being published by the pioneer of music printing Ottaviano Petrucci.

Marbrianus' "Missa Mi-Mi" here bears no thematic relation to the mass of the same name by Johannes Ockeghem, deriving from an entirely different cantus firmus (but apparently the same one as Matthaeus Pipelare's); the title refers to pitches in the head motif which in the system of the time were labelled as "mi". The derivation of the "Missa L'Homme Armé" masses is of course well-known. This has been recorded before by Jesse Rodin and Cut Circle (Musique a la Chapelle Sixtine autour de 1490) but as far as I can tell the "Missa Mi-Mi" is a première.

Thankfully this is a return to form by the outstanding ensemble The Sound and the Fury after something of a dip with their release of Ockeghem's "Missa Prolationum" and "Missa Cuiusvis Toni". What I cannot understand is the inconsistency in the format of their releases - this is only available in MP3 whereas the almost simultaneous release of Mattheus Pipelare is CD only. Their triple album of Firminus Caron was for a long time only available on MP3 before being finally released on CD, and none of the other releases have had MP3 versions at all.
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