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4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Prioris: Requiem; Missa super 'Allez Regrets' /Ensemble Daedalus · Festa
Format: Audio CD|Change
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VINE VOICEon 10 May 2012
Johannes Prioris is another name to add to a long list of virtually forgotten Renaissance composers of whom we know almost nothing. Yet it is clear that he was held in high regard by his contemporaries; for example Pierre Moulu in his motet "Mater Floreat Florescat", ranks Prioris alongside the likes of Dufay, Busnois, Obrecht and Josquin.

The Requiem presented here, the earliest polyphonic such surviving after Ockeghem's, appears to be one of two, alongside that attributed to Antoine de Févin, which were sung for the lengthy funeral rites in 1514 for Anne of Brittany, successively wife to Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I and Kings Charles VIII and Louis XII of France. The programme also includes a mass using a cantus firmus based upon a famous song "Allez Regrets" by Hayne van Ghizeghem, this same tune also being used in the same way by other composers such as Agricola, Compère and Josquin.

Ensemble Daedalus deliver the Requiem with great tranquillity and repose - certain not dour but nevertheless lacking perhaps some of the energy which other Renaissance vocal ensembles inject into similar works. The Mass does not fare too much better in this respect either, and it feels a little flat. The vocalists are technically skilled if possibly as a group maybe not well balanced across the vocal range.

This is nevertheless a welcome window into another of the many neglected composers of the era with enough of his own style to create interest for Renaissance music enthusiasts, just scraping four stars. The accompanying booklet contains some notes which are just about unreadable - pretentious and poorly structured. Latin sung texts provided without translation.
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