Although little-known to modern listeners, in his lifetime Phillipe Rogier was known to Europe as the "Honour, Light and Glory of Flanders". Working in Spain in the Chapel Royal he produced music of passionate intensity and thrilling beauty to match, and even surpass the greatest composers of the period. The mass "Ego Sum Qui Sum" is a masterpiece, taking as its inspiration the motet by his great forerunner, Nicolas Gombert, and yet looking forward in its expressive harmonies and glistening vocal texture. The motets on this disc are well chosen, the highlights being "Taedet Animam Meam" and "Heu Mihi, Domine", both settings of funeral texts. This disc is to be heartily recommended, not just to those who enjoy choral and early music, but to any who wishes to discover a long-forgotten gem.
Philippe Rogier was among the last of a magnificent line of Franco-Flemish composers who made an immeasurable contribution to the musical life of Europe throughout the Renaissance period. By the age of 25 he had already risen to the distinguished position of master of music at the Spanish royal court, and his work was widely known in his time. But, tragically, he died in 1596 at the age of only 35 and, to add to the misfortune for succeeding generations of music lovers, large portions of his copious musical output were later destroyed, some in a fire at the Spanish royal chapel in 1734, and still more in the Lisbon earthquake of 1755.
There have been a few CDs containing works by Rogier, including several fine instrumental pieces beautifully performed in Paul McCreesh's brilliant reconstruction programmes "Music for the Duke of Lerma" and Morales' "Mass for the Feast of St. Isidore of Seville". But I know of only one other disc devoted entirely to Rogier (on the Ricercar label), and so this present CD from the vocal group Magnificat under Philip Cave is all the more welcome. What is more, their choice of music centres upon an outstanding example of that well-loved Renaissance phenomenon the parody mass, in this case one based on the motet "Ego sum qui sum" by Nicolas Gombert.
Gombert's piece, which of course is included on the disc, is itself an absolute gem even by the standards of that wonderful composer, a beautifully affecting setting of an Easter text culminating in a poignant moment of the Resurrection story. It is performed with moving delicacy by a section of Cave's group singing one voice to a part, and is then followed by Rogier's parody mass sung by the whole group. Rogier makes the most of Gombert's melodic and contrapuntal material, weaving its various strands and motifs into a complex texture of intense beauty; all this is performed with sensitive style by the finely blended voices of Magnificat, and their sound is ideally captured by Linn's engineers.
The remaining works on the disc, with biblical texts mainly about sadness and repentance, are more austere in mood, but the comforting words and rich texture of the final work, "Dominus regit me", make a fitting conclusion to the programme. Altogether, this CD is an outstanding and original contribution to the discography and will make a fine addition to any collection of renaissance music. As a footnote, Gombert's motet is also available in an equally beautiful performance by Nordic Voices on the Chandos label, as part of their marvellous recital entitled "Reges terrae: Music from the Time of Charles V" - also well worth investigating by all lovers of this repertory.
Digging on the renaissances I found some Rogier CD, including this one. I'll only give my personal impressions because Mr. Midgley (reviewer above) has already told you the complete history. About the CD it's simply marvelous. The recording is cristal clear, the sound stage is wide and if you have a good Hi-End system you can enjoy the sopranos high notes as a velvet. Although not mentioned on Mr. Midgely's review there're two new CD (SACD) with this same team on others Rogier pieces, that I'm near to listen. One he has already reviewed Philippe Rogier - Polychoral Works (Hybrid - Plays on All CD Players) and the other is waiting for Philippe Rogier: Music from the Missae Sex (SACD/CD - plays on all CD players), either on SACD. Considering the contrapuntal writing I suggest to the listener to follow the words on the included booklet. Nice light music to relax and enjoy.
Not much more to add to the other reviews other than register my own thumbs up. While Flanders-born Philippe Rogier was relatively unknown outside Spain (where he held the post of the royal court's master of music) in his lifetime and remains little known today, this recording demonstrates that he should be held as one of the finest composers of the Renaissance. A fabulous set from start to finish, with the parody mass, Missa "Ego sum qui sum" based upon Gombert's motet which is also here, alongside six marvellous motets.
The booklet provides some useful notes, along with sung texts and English translation.
I have little to add to the excellent review here by Stephen Midgley, but wanted to add my enthusiastic endorsement of it. This a first-rate CD of very good polyphony, superbly performed by the excellent Magnificat. It's very beautiful and extremely rewarding; my advice is to read Mr Midgley's review and snap the disc up - it's a gem.