Magazine article Gramophone

'Leiden Choirbooks, Vol 6'

Magazine article Gramophone

'Leiden Choirbooks, Vol 6'

Article excerpt

'Leiden Choirbooks, Vol 6' 'The Leiden Choirbooks--Codex F' Music by Flamingus, Hellinck, Manchicourt, Mergot, Sermisy and Anonymous Egidius Kwartet and College Etcetera [F] [2] KTC1415 (157 * DDD * T/t)

The traversal of an idiosyncratic corner of 16th-century polyphony comes to an end with this double-CD, which focuses on the Masses contained in the sixth and last of this set of choirbooks from Leiden. The first CD contains two cycles, one by Pierre de Manchicourt (a composer with a small but distinguished discography) and the other by Lupus Hellinck (whose representation in the catalogue is slimmer still). This reportorial approach contrasts with the second disc, which presents a Mass by the far better-known Claudin de Sermisy, this time in the context of a liturgical reconstruction--a genre that has somewhat fallen out of fashion. Sermisy's sacred music is so rarely recorded nowadays as to make this issue self-recommending, especially as the performance of his Mass is the most assured of the three cycles. In other ways, too, this is much the stronger and individual of the two discs, from the believable timbre of the celebrants (in tune but seeming vocally untrained) to the singers of polyphony, who sound most at ease in the two fine motets that bookend the Mass, both by more obscure, probably local figures. …

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