An excellent and intriguing anthology, beautifully sung and containing some of Josquin's greatest music.
Here the Orlando Consort show all their famous qualities: absolute clarity of texture and musical detail, even in the intricate six-voice works; exceptionally fine intonation throughout; and a programme built in line with the preferences of a distinguished scholar, in this case Jaap van Benthem, who also prepared the editions with some fascinating and probing new interpretations. They also show two other characteristics that begin to worry me a little. First, their diction is often very unclear, particularly in the all-important top voice. They strive for historical pronunciation, with the advice of Alison WrayRead more (French for all the Latin motets except the last two); but often the results are thoroughly generalised and 'lacking in consonants. Even with the texts in front of me I was often not at all sure which words they had reached. Second, partly related, they prefer an uninterrupted and often unarticulated flow in the music. This is an acceptable ideal, but it can result in a certain shapelessness, by which the music ambles along amiably enough but without any clear shape, let alone changes of mood to reflect changes in the music. Ut Phoebi radios comes across beautifully, because Josquin structured it so clearly; but the great five-voice De profitndis, the six-voice 0 Virgo prudentissima, or the lament Nymphes des boys seem to need far more rhetorical shaping.
On both fronts, then, Josquin does not entirely emerge as one of the most magnificent and resourceful motet composers in history. But I have perhaps given those qualifications too much space. In all other respects this is a wonderfully sung anthology containing some of Josquin's greatest music; and scholars will be fascinated to hear Jaap van Benthern's intriguing new reconstruction of the much-discussed Vultum tuum deprecabuntur cycle.
WorthwhileSeptember 7, 2014By M. Harrison (Moultrie, GA)See All My Reviews"Not quite as finely recorded as a Tallis Scholars or Hilliard ECM, but very nicely performed. I'd put it in the top third of my early music polyphonic collection."Report Abuse