des Prez: Missa Pange Lingua / Bohme, Kammerchor Josquin des Prez

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JOSQUIN DES PREZ Missa Pange lingua. O virgo virginum. Sit nomen Domini. Ave nobilissima creatura. Ave virgo sanctissima. Verbum supernum prodiens. Tu solis qui facis mirabilia Ludwig Böhme, dir; Kammerchor Josquin des Prez CARUS 83.345 (62:07 Text and Translation)

At intervals of about a decade, Josquin des Prez’s two masses based on the popular song that furnished the cantus firmus for more than 30 Renaissance masses ( Fanfare 26:4, under Busnois) have been paired on CD. Peter Phillips was first (13:1), then Bernard Fabre-Garrus (25:3). The masses had already appeared singly on LP, first “super voces musicales” under Miroslav Venhoda, then “sexti toni” under Jeremy Noble. Since then the latter has had more singles than the former, including one on the same Calliope label. In the notes, Jacques Barbier agrees with Peter Phillips that the latter work is later than the former, both dating from the composer’s Sistine Chapel period of the 1490s and printed in Petrucci’s first book of his masses in 1502. Oddly, Barbier also wrote the notes for Fabre-Garrus, in which he was unaware of the revised view of Josquin’s biography that was already widely accepted by that time and on the presumed order of composition of these masses that he now accepts.

This disc offers the composer’s last and finest Mass (by most accounts) framed by an unusual collection of half a dozen shorter works. Three of these are familiar motets, but Sit nomen Domini and Ave virgo sanctissima are canons of doubtful authenticity and Verbum supernum prodiens is a hymn text that Böhme set to the familiar motet Ave Maria à 4. The mixed-voice choir of 14 is a superb ensemble with lovely tone and perfect balance. Their principal competition is the excellent version by the Westminster Cathedral Choir (16:5), the men and boys contrasting with this adult choir. The two agree on tempos in the first two movements, but then this choir becomes faster through the rest of the Mass, while O’Donnell’s attains a sublime conclusion by the end of the Mass. Yet the present choir’s caressing tone gives this version a high place among those currently available.

FANFARE: J. F. Weber

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: CV83345

  • UPC: 4009350833456

  • Label: Carus

  • Composer: Anonymous, Josquin Des Préz

  • Conductor: Ludwig Böhme

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Josquin des Prez Chamber Choir