Notes and Editorial Reviews
Missa de Beata Maria Virgine.
JOSQUIN DES PREZ/DASER
Ave Maria . . . virgo serena
Michael Procter, cond; Ens Hofkapelle; David Blunden (org)
CHRISTOPHORUS CHR 77277 (65:52
, the use of alternation between chant and polyphony or
organ and polyphony, was widespread in early 16th-century Germany, although it has a longer and more varied history than that. Polyphonic mass Ordinaries titled ?of the Blessed Virgin? were widely composed using several different sets of chants as cantus firmus. The notes for this disc treat both of these subjects in detail, for this program exemplifies the developments at the time of Heinrich Isaac (c. 1450?1517) at the Hapsburg court of Maximilian I. Isaac?s four-voice Mass recorded here was the original from which the six-voice setting was rewritten. (Reinhard Strohm?s
article is quoted with a conflicting opinion, not regarded as acceptable, that the six-voice setting is the original.) Paul Hofheimer (1459?1537) was organist at the court, so his setting of a Marian offertory is added here because it is one of only two of his organ works based on chant (the rest are based on songs). In the spirit of Isaac?s six-voice setting of his four-voice Mass is a reworking of Josquin?s famous four-voice
for six voices. This setting is found in a Munich manuscript of the 1550s and attributed by Martin Bente in 1968 to Ludwig Daser (c. 1525?1589).
This illuminating program was recorded in the church of Rysum, Ostfriesland, where one of the oldest organs in Europe is preserved, dated 1457, with seven ranks and one manual, but remarkably powerful and varied in tone color. It was essentially undisturbed until an expert renovation was done in 1960. The four-voice Mass alternates with chant found in the Passau Gradual (Vienna, 1511). The six-voice Mass alternates with organ versets improvised as Hofheimer might have done. The foundation for David Blunden?s improvisation, the most speculative part of this program, is the offertory
, first sung here from the Passau Gradual, then played as Hofheimer set it. Michael Procter, who directs the singing, has edited and published all of this music (and hundreds of other Renaissance works as well). The six-man ensemble is exceptional in tonal quality and rhythmic precision. This program has been superbly thought out and executed. As the first recording of these Masses, this disc is a triumph. Highly recommended.
FANFARE: J. F. Weber
Works on This Recording
Missa de Beata Maria Virgine by Heinrich Isaac
Recordare by Paul Hofhaimer
Ave Maria, virgo serena by Josquin Des Préz
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