Notes and Editorial Reviews
A superlative record. Parrott's ear for tone color, pure pitching and textural clarity is ideal for this music; he also has that wonderful gift of being able to generate excitement without losing the most complete control.
High on my own list of desiderata has long been another Josquin record from Andrew Parrott, who last did one some 20 years ago. His ear for tone colour, pure pitching and textural clarity seems ideal for this music; he also has that wonderful gift of being able to generate excitement without losing the most complete control. As the core of this new record he has chosen the Mass Ave marls stella, the one that Petrucci chose to open his second book of Josquin Masses and Martin Bourgeois chose in about the same year to open his grand choirbook for the Burgundian court. In many ways it is the purest and most restrained of all Josquin's Masses, treating its chant in a wide variety of ways without ever showing off; that is, it is the perfect medium for Parrott's kind of musicianship. With a healthy-sounding choir of perhaps a dozen voices (and, unusually for Parrott, falsettists on top) he presents the music with wonderful eloquence and flexibility.
For the other works he uses solo voices, normally with Emily Van Evera singing the top part and showing her own magnificent sense of line and articulation; this may be among the finest of her many achievements on record. The repertory is very well chosen to show the range and variety of Josquin's music without treading too much familiar ground.
Some listeners may regret Parrott's decision to avoid current views on proportional tempo relationships in between sections of the Mass, though it seems to me that he judges nearly all speeds to perfection. My own regret is that for the occasional triple-time figures within the texture he follows an old idea (pioneered by Michael Collins but generally ignored) that these are simply another way of notating duple time: in almost all cases it seems to me not to work here, and his solutions offer nothing that required any different notation—but then it was perhaps high time that the idea was aired in a first-rate performance, and there was never a performance from Parrott that did not interestingly challenge a few pre-conceived notions.
Briefly, then, this is a superlative record.
-- Gramophone [5/1993]