The Brightest Heaven of Invention

Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: Johannes Regis, Antoine Brumel, Antoine Busnois, Guillaume Dufay, Jacob Obrecht, Josquin Desprez

Label: Amon Ra

Media Format: Cassette

Mastering:

Stereo
DDD

Catalogue Number: CSAR56

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
O admirabile commercium/Verbum caro James Wood
New London Chamber Choir
Johannes Regis Composer
Nato canunt omnia James Wood
Antoine Brumel Composer
New London Chamber Choir
Anthoni usque limina James Wood
New London Chamber Choir
Antoine Busnois Composer
Ave regina celorum Guillaume Dufay Composer
James Wood
New London Chamber Choir
Salve crux New London Chamber Choir
James Wood
Jacob Obrecht Composer
In hydraulis James Wood
Antoine Busnois Composer
New London Chamber Choir
Praeter rerum seriem Josquin Desprez Composer
New London Chamber Choir
James Wood
Factor orbis New London Chamber Choir
James Wood
Jacob Obrecht Composer

Composer or Director: Josquin Desprez, Jacob Obrecht, Antoine Busnois, Antoine Brumel, Guillaume Dufay, Johannes Regis

Genre:

Vocal

Label: Amon Ra

Media Format: CD or Download

Mastering:

Stereo
DDD

Catalogue Number: CD-SAR56

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
Praeter rerum seriem New London Chamber Choir
Josquin Desprez Composer
James Wood
Factor orbis New London Chamber Choir
James Wood
Jacob Obrecht Composer
Salve crux New London Chamber Choir
James Wood
Jacob Obrecht Composer
Anthoni usque limina James Wood
Antoine Busnois Composer
New London Chamber Choir
Nato canunt omnia Antoine Brumel Composer
New London Chamber Choir
James Wood
In hydraulis Antoine Busnois Composer
James Wood
New London Chamber Choir
Ave regina celorum New London Chamber Choir
James Wood
Guillaume Dufay Composer
O admirabile commercium/Verbum caro Johannes Regis Composer
James Wood
New London Chamber Choir
This is a special one, tailored for those who like their music unusual, powerful and fascinating. During the last third of the fifteenth century the motet may not have held the foreground quite in the same way as the ambitious, newly-minted mass cycle. But many composers used the motet for some of their most intriguing experiments. Freed from the constraints of liturgy, they could be to a certain extent self-indulgent. For some listeners the very notions of self-indulgence and experiment may be discouraging; but these were composers of an unusual vitality, and every one of the pieces on this record is thoroughly absorbing.
So the New London Chamber Choir lead off with O admirabile commercium by Regis, a strange piece by one of the strangest composers of his generation: ideas and tunes charge in and out at a bewildering rate, building a musical edifice that is astonishingly satisfying. There is almost as much of the unpredictable in the works by Brumel and Obrecht, possibly more familiar figures, but men whose range of styles has by no means yet been encompassed on record: both are represented here by unfamiliar sides of their output. Then there is the glorious Busnois, heard through the medium of his motet honouring Ockeghem and the strange 'bell' motet for St Anthony (an astonishing exercise in musical textures). And the collection is rounded out by more famous works of Dufay and Josquin, both presented in fresh and surprising readings.
In fact 'fresh' may be the right word for all the performances here. James Wood has no time for a romantic reading of this music: the edges are hard (sometimes perhaps just a touch too hard), the tone colour is bright and transparent, and the singing is always spirited. This is a semi-professional ensemble, with women on the top line, but what they yield to the slicker groups they compensate for with their energy. It is hard to remain unaffected.
The record is plainly the brain-child of Gramophone's own JM, who prepared the editions and whose notes guide the listener through the music with astonishing skill and detail. That is to say that it is one of those rare records that combine exploration with education and musical delight. We need more like this.'

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