WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Des Pres: Missa Pange Lingua / O'donnell, Westminster Cathedral Choir

Des Prez / Choir Of Westminster Cathedral
Release Date: 08/09/2011 
Label:  Helios   Catalog #: 55374   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Josquin Des Préz
Conductor:  James O'Donnell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Cathedral Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

With performances of such distinction and quality, this disc would make a first-rate introduction to Josquin’s music.

For all that research can tell us, Josquin des Prez remains something of a mystery to modern music-lovers. The greatness of his music is in no doubt, however. This Franco-Flemish composer redefined what was expected of church music. While it’s going too far to say that he invented polyphony, he cemented it into the pattern of church music so that, after him, its continuation was in no doubt.

The choir of Westminster Cathedral are ideal interpreters of his work. Long established as one of this country’s finest church choirs, they blend impeccable refinement with an edge of character that
Read more makes them quite unique. In the Mass, for example, my first impression of the boys’ sound was that it was rather raw, even slightly impish, but this made it colourful and very distinctive, a welcome change from the carbon-copy uniformity that can characterise some cathedral choirs. The great blocks of chords at the start of movements, after plainsong introductions, ring here with hypnotic strength. Lines of polyphony cascade over one another in the great movements of the Gloria and Credo. Moments of punctuation leaven the texture, such as the glorious pause for reflection, almost like a drawing in of breath, at Et incarnatus est, and the spiralling layers of the Sanctus show the harmonic interplay of the choir at its best.

The motet sequence Planxit autem David, David’s lament for Saul and Jonathan, is, if anything, even more beautiful, seemingly endless vocal lines being spun out to reflect the king’s grief. Pages of minor key vocal melisma seem to go on for ever before resolving magically into the major.

The cycle Vultum tuum deprecabuntur consists of a series of Motets dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and they are characterised by a particular ethereal quality, as if levitating in mid-air, unlike the more grounded Mass and Planxit. With this set of performances the boys’ voices have lost their impishness and take on a more conventionally angelic quality. This chimed in with the beautiful, other-worldly nature of both text and music and the cycle makes a roundly satisfying conclusion to the disc.

With performances of such distinction and quality, this disc would make a first-rate introduction to Josquin’s music.

-- Simon Thompson, MusicWeb International

Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Missa "Pange lingua" by Josquin Des Préz
Conductor:  James O'Donnell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Cathedral Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Date of Recording: 03/1992 
Venue:  Westminster Cathedral, London, England 
Length: 32 Minutes 26 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
2. Vultum tuum deprecabuntur by Josquin Des Préz
Conductor:  James O'Donnell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Cathedral Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Date of Recording: 03/1992 
Venue:  Westminster Cathedral, London, England 
Length: 27 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
3. Planxit autem David by Josquin Des Préz
Conductor:  James O'Donnell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Cathedral Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Date of Recording: 03/1992 
Venue:  Westminster Cathedral, London, England 
Length: 14 Minutes 45 Secs. 
Language: Latin 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook