Nicolas Gombert: Motets; Chansons; Magnificat

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Manheim
It's always great to encounter the recording that can "crack" a composer open, making his or her music accessible to a general listening public. And it's all the better when such a recording comes from beyond the usual quarters, as, for example, with this American recording of Renaissance polyphony. Nicolas Gombert was a Flemish Renaissance composer, a successor and possibly a student of Josquin who entered the service of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. His music, especially in his masses, tends to present itself as a dense, unbroken flow of polyphony. Gombert is one of the composers music history students tend to slog through in hopes of getting to the good stuff. One ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Manheim
It's always great to encounter the recording that can "crack" a composer open, making his or her music accessible to a general listening public. And it's all the better when such a recording comes from beyond the usual quarters, as, for example, with this American recording of Renaissance polyphony. Nicolas Gombert was a Flemish Renaissance composer, a successor and possibly a student of Josquin who entered the service of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. His music, especially in his masses, tends to present itself as a dense, unbroken flow of polyphony. Gombert is one of the composers music history students tend to slog through in hopes of getting to the good stuff. One noted Renaissance scholar used to refer to him, Adrian Willaert, and Giaches de Wert as "the Ert brothers." All that could change with this disc of Gombert motets and chansons. These works are less dense than his masses, but not by much, and they are considerably less limpid than Josquin's pieces in the same genres. But here it is the performances that clarify them. The Massachusetts ensemble Capella Alamire the name is a pun on an aspect of an old solmization system under director Peter Urquhart, recording in a church in Portsmouth, NH, slows the motets down slightly and addresses them with a group of eight singers -- the black belt of choral singing. They bring out the rich detail of Gombert's polyphony -- the intricate crossings of lines, the currents that seem to eddy through the music like whitecaps on a rushing stream, the pungent dissonances that Gombert uses to mark section ends in place of clear cadences, and more. And the singing is gorgeous in itself, with individual voices emerging just slightly from the group like shades of light. The mix of motets and chansons is also satisfyingly executed. The sonic resources deployed are completely different; the chansons are sung by a soprano Noël Bisson, accompanied by a viol group, the Woodman Consort. But Urquhart forges the same kind of clear yet lyrical interpretation in the chansons as in the motets; they don't come off sounding as though they came from a completely different musical sphere, as often happens with secular recordings of music from the sixteenth century. What makes all this even more remarkable is the recording's academic provenance; Urquhart is a professor and researcher at the University of New Hampshire. Academic recordings of Renaissance music tend to be unbearably dull, but this one is lovely and instructive, one of Naxos' best Renaissance releases, and enthusiastically recommended to libraries, students, instructors, and general listeners.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 12/12/2006
  • Label: Naxos
  • UPC: 747313018079
  • Catalog Number: 8570180
  • Sales rank: 332,335

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Salve regina (alternatim), motet for 4 voices - Nicolas Gombert & Capella Alamire (8:51)
  2. 2 A quoy tient-il, chanson for 4 voices - Nicolas Gombert & Noël Bisson (2:15)
  3. 3 Je suis trop jonette, chanson for 3 voices - Nicolas Gombert & Noël Bisson (2:08)
  4. 4 O gloriosa Dei genitrix, motet for 4 voices - Nicolas Gombert & Capella Alamire (5:17)
  5. 5 Ave Maria, motet for 5 voices - Nicolas Gombert & Capella Alamire (4:19)
  6. 6 Mort et fortune, chanson for 4 voices - Nicolas Gombert & Noël Bisson (2:05)
  7. 7 Triste départ m'avoit, chanson for 5 voices - Nicolas Gombert & Noël Bisson (2:15)
  8. 8 O malheureuse journée, chanson for 5 voices - Nicolas Gombert & Capella Alamire (4:34)
  9. 9 Tous les Regretz for 6 voices - Nicolas Gombert & Capella Alamire (3:18)
  10. 10 Pleust a Dieu, chanson for 3 voices - Nicolas Gombert & Noël Bisson (1:33)
  11. 11 Or suis-je prins, chanson for 4 voices - Nicolas Gombert & Noël Bisson (2:10)
  12. 12 Aspice Domine quia factaest, motet for 4 voices - Nicolas Gombert & Capella Alamire (7:50)
  13. 13 Ave regina caelorum, motet for 5 voices - Nicolas Gombert & Capella Alamire (4:41)
  14. 14 Par un regard, chanson for 3 voices - Nicolas Gombert & Woodman Consort of Viols (1:56)
  15. 15 En attendant l'espoir, chanson for 6 voices - Nicolas Gombert & Noël Bisson (2:23)
  16. 16 Magnificat 4, for 5 voices in Tone 4 - Nicolas Gombert & Capella Alamire (12:32)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Capella Alamire Primary Artist
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