Tomás Luis de Victoria was the greatest composer of the Spanish sixteenth-century ‘golden age’ of polyphonic music. This recording is of the six-voice Missa Dum complerentur, the five-part motet on which the Mass is based, and six further hymns and sequences including the great Popule meus, a setting of the Improperia (Reproaches) which form the heart of the liturgy for Good Friday. This is music of compelling beauty, which illustrates well Victoria’s extraordinary capacity to create through simple homophony extremely moving music of great expressiveness.
"As our awards enter their fourth decade, we've paused and looked back over the first 30 years. It's gratifying to see how many of the recordings singled out for the prestigious Record of the Year have gone on to become classics of the catalogue. (…) Then there are the discs that shaped careers - violinists Nigel Kennedy (in Elgar) and Maxim Vengerov (in Prokofiev and Shostakovich) - to which you might add The Tallis Scholars' stunning disc of Masses by Josquin Desprez, a disc that elevated Early Music to the "mainstream". ~Grammophone
The second son of Martín García de Anchieta and Urtayzaga de Loyola, who was a great-aunt of the future saint, Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, members of a leading family in the Basque country, Juan de Anchieta was born in 1462 near Azpeitia in Guipúzcoa in the Iraurgui valley. Although there is no information about his formative years, it is possible that he served as a chorister in the chapel of Henry IV of Castile and perhaps studied at Salamanca University, where Diego de Fermoselle, an elder brother of Juan del Encina, taught. In 1489 he was appointed as a singer in the Court Chapel of Queen Isabella the Catholic, with a salary of 20,000 maravedís, increased in 1493 to 30,000 maravedís. In 1495 he was appointed maestro di capilla to the Prince Don Juan. After the death of the Prince in 1497 he returned to the service of the Queen, to be ……
As the old saying goes, "the third time's the charm." This is indeed the third time the German label Accent has issued this coupling of Domenico Scarlatti's Stabat Mater with João Rodrigues Esteves' Missa a oito voces. The first time was in 1990, when the recording by Currende under the leadership of Erik van Nevel was new, and the second in 1998 as part of a box set containing this and several recordings by Concerto Palatino. No complaints here, though, as this is one of the finest discs Accent has to offer.
The Franco-Flemish composer, Johannes Ockeghem, sang at Antwerp at the Bourbon court before joining the French royal chapel in 1451. Ockeghem spent most of his professional life at the French chapel and his output was quite prolific. He composed 14 settings of the Mass, including one of the earliest polyphonic versions of the Requiem. Ockeghem also composed numerous motets and secular songs. He was one of the most original voices in early Renaissance polyphony and his music dazzles with its ingenuity and beauty.
England's Orlando Consort, a quartet of male singers augmented as needed by other performers, offers performances of Renaissance vocal music that lie midway between the traditional and the highly individualized modern. Sometimes they veer toward one of those two extremes, but often, as on the present disc, they find a happy medium. Their sound, especially in sacred music, owes much to the English cathedral tradition, but there's a well-honed edge to their one-voice-to-a-part interpretations that brings out the crowds who've recently been drawn to early music. This disc is intended as an introduction to a composer who doesn't always offer easy listening to the modern ear. Netherlander Antoine Busnois, active at the end of the fifteenth century and considered the greatest figure between Dufay and Josquin, wrote music that broke free from elaborate medieval numerology but came in advance of Josquin's perfect marriage of music and text.
Extraordinarily well-written, prodigiously inventive, and relentlessly exciting–these aren’t terms normally used to describe 18th-century Masses, but then there is nothing “normal” about this late work by Czech composer Jan Dismas Zelenka. Simply put, if you aren’t acquainted with Zelenka (or if you’ve experienced a previous aversion to Masses), when you hear this piece-a substantial and powerful conception, from the first note of the Kyrie to the final chord of the Dona nobis pacem-you will wonder why this composer does not enjoy much greater esteem and popularity with performers, particularly alongside J.S. Bach (his contemporary) and Mozart.
This recording of Georg Muffat's monumental mass alongside church sonatas by his contemporaries creates a vivid impression of the imposing sacred music heard at leading Catholic courts during the High Baroque. The Abbey Church of Muri with its four galleries and its historical Bossart organs proves to be a performance venue with perfect acoustics for these polychoral works.