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Magnificat/Salve Regina/Credo/Tulerunt Dominum

Oxford Camerata - Jeremy Summerly

Naxos 8.557732 [Budget price]

"a first-rate introduction to the richly textured range of Gombert's music" (Guardian, Feb 2006)

The Flemish-born Nicolas Gombert (c1495- c1560) provides an important link between early Renaissance composers such as Josquin and the high Renaissance.

This music is very impressive, pushing at the expressive boundaries of what the Renaissance language achieved. This is addictive music. Perhaps it will tempt you to seek out more Gombert in van Nevel's magnificent boxed set of Flemish Polyphony (Capella Sancti Michaelis/Currende Consort - Erik van Nevel) Eufoda 1160-69, which comes with a splendid book

The fresh voices of the Oxford students give it all a youthful zest, and with a learned text (which goes into salacious matters of the composer's sexual proclivities) it is self recommending at Naxos's budget price.

Nicolas Gombert Missa Media Vita In Morte Sumus

The Hilliard Ensemble

David James countertenor
Rogers Covey-Crump tenor
Steven Harrold tenor
Andreas Hirtreiter tenor
Gordon Jones baritone
Robert Macdonald bass

Media vita in morte sumus
Kyrie (from Missa Media Vita)
Gloria (from Missa Media Vita)
Salve Regina
Anima Mea
Credo (from Missa Media Vita)
O crux, splenidor cunctis
Sanctus (from Missa Media Vita)
Quam pulchra es
Musae lovis

ECM New Series 1884 [FP, recorded May 2002, released 2006]

Good to have another CD to establish Gombert's individual voice as a leading figure between Josquin and Palestrina. Taken together, these two CDs should help to combat his neglect due to the "unfortunate effects of the Josquin-centered historiography" (Jonathan Wainwright).

We have here one of Gombert's parody masses, preluded by the motet on which it was based, and with others interposed as contrasts to the thicker texture of the Mass. He favours lower voices.

Superb singing by UK's finest one-voice-to-a-part ensemble. The cover illustration is inscrutable and illegible, but the illustrations of scores are attractive. It is given with full texts, but in Latin only - but this music does not have any conventional word setting, so one listens to it as quasi-instrumental polyphony.

See also Todd McComb's interesting Gombert links

© Peter Grahame Woolf