LASSUS Aurora lucis rutilat. Timor et tremor. Magnificat super Praeter rerum seriem. Magnificat super Aurora lucis rutilat. JOSQUIN DES PREZ Praeter rerum seriem. Huc me sydereo. O Virgo prudentissima. BRUMEL Missa Et ecce terraemotus: Gloria, Sanctus • Harry Christophers, Eamonn Dougan, dir; The Sixteen • CORO COR 16097 (61:07 Text and Translation) Read more />
Titled The Earth Resounds, this program is an inventive attempt to show relations among the works of three Franco-Flemish composers. Orlandus Lassus (c.1532–94) was influenced by Josquin des Prez (c.1455–1521) and Antoine Brumel (c.1460–c.1512), though the only direct link in the program is Lassus’s Magnificat on Brumel’s Marian motet Praeter rerum seriem (based on a popular chant). Another close link is the surviving copy of Brumel’s Mass, which Lassus used in his Munich chapel. The “audacious and arresting” works, as Harry Christophers puts it, were chosen because they are settings of texts dealing with “sublimity, mystery, pathos, or peril.” Oddly, none of these unique pieces can be dated or shown how they came to be written. They are mostly for larger forces, notably the 12-voice Mass of Brumel and the 10-voice motet Aurora lucis rutilat, on which Lassus based the other Magnificat heard here. It may be noted that both Aurora lucis rutilat and Et ecce terraemotus originate with chants for Easter. The program unfolds in a manner that exemplifies the connections (the headnote groups the pieces by composer for conciseness).
The performances are worthy of such an ingenious plan. The Brumel Mass has already been recorded complete three times by Paul Van Nevel (Fanfare 14: 4), Peter Phillips (16:2), and Dominique Visse (27:5). The first two used unaccompanied mixed voices like this one, while Visse used men with instrumental accompaniment. The last review sums up Brumel’s career but singles out the Phillips recording as the choice version. Christophers matches the interpretation of Phillips with a similar vocal complement. The Magnificat super Praeter rerum seriem was recorded at least once before, by Bruno Turner. The other Magnificat is on an obscure CD that has not come this way. Josquin’s Praeter rerum seriem is on a Tallis Scholars recording of Cipriano de Rore’s Mass based on it (18:1), while his other two motets are on the Orlando Consort collection recently reissued (34:1). The two Lassus motets are on a Lassus disc by Edward Higginbottom recently reissued on Brilliant in a boxed set of five discs. Hence everything in this program is familiar, so the effect is achieved by the links that are demonstrated and the elegance of the performances. I only regret that this was not issued on SACD, like many Coro discs. The Brumel Mass alone sounds so good that surround sound would certainly enhance it. Christophers explains the conducting credit as due to being incapacitated and unable to conduct “in the main,” so Eamonn Dougan, a bass who was designated associate conductor, conducted “under my direction,” as he puts it. Well done all around.
The Earth Resounds, "No"August 31, 2012By M. Harrison (Moultrie, GA)See All My Reviews"At least on this disc, The Sixteen lack the performance aesthetic of the better early music groups. They sound too modern and indifferent to the distinctions among the composers covered. Its too "pretty" at the expense of mystery and focus, producing a generic, glossed over sound. I was disappointed."Report Abuse