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Isaac: Missa Paschalis / Rombach, Ensemble Officium

Isaac / Ensemble Officium / Rombach
Release Date: 03/13/2012 
Label:  Christophorus   Catalog #: 77356  
Composer:  Heinrich Isaac
Conductor:  Wilfried Rombach
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Officium
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

ISAAC Missa paschalis. Choralis Constantinus—Proprium in Resurrectione Domini Wilfried Rombach, dir; Ens Officium CHRISTOPHORUS CHR 77356 (71:06 Text and Translation)

This first appeared as Christophorus CHR 772667, but I cannot explain why no review ever appeared. I had reviewed other discs by the group, which was only a few years old even then. We have had at least five Masses by Heinrich Isaac (c. 1450–1517) on records since the mono era, including three previous recordings Read more of this Easter Mass by Paul Hillier ( Fanfare 8: 1), Clytus Gottwald (on Bayer and Brilliant), and Rebecca Stewart (23:3). But for all its fame, we have had very few of the Propers from the Choralis Constantinus . Unlike William Byrd, who composed only Propers for major feasts and common Offices (those used for whole classes of saints, such as martyrs), Isaac set out to furnish Propers for the entire liturgical year. He died before completing the task, but his pupil Ludwig Senfl completed and published the set. Moreover, what we do have on records is mostly the Propers for Easter. This program interleaves the Proper of Easter with the Missa Paschalis , but only the gradual, alleluia, sequence, and communion are taken from Choralis Constantinus; the introit is a more elaborate six-voice setting by Isaac (recorded by Peter Philips, 15:3) and the offertory is chant sung from the early manuscript Einsiedeln 121. The introit from Choralis Constantinus, previously recorded by Rebecca Stewart (23:3), is added at the end. The sequence is curious; Isaac set not the familiar Victimae paschali laudes but another one from Passau, Laudes Salvatori.

The contents of this disc are very close to Stewart’s. She does not include a sequence or Credo, but she does have the expected offertory by Isaac. Isaac specialists will want to compare the slightly different ways of realizing this program, but other collectors will be satisfied with either one. On balance, I’ll go with Rombach.

FANFARE: J. F. Weber
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Works on This Recording

Missa paschalis by Heinrich Isaac
Conductor:  Wilfried Rombach
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Officium
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Germany 

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