Josquin Desprez - Missa Ave maris stella
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Label: Challenge Classics
Cat No: CC72632
Number of Discs: 1
Release Date: 10th March 2014
The Dutch-based vocal ensemble Cappella Pratensis was founded in 1987, and is renowned for championing the music of Josquin Desprez and other polyphonists of the 15th and 16th centuries. On this recording they perform Josquin’s Missa Ave maris stella under the direction of the ensemble’s current conductor Stratton Bull.
Cappella Pratensis combines historically informed performance practice with inventive programmes and original interpretations based on scholarly research and artistic insight. As in Josquin’s time, the members of Cappella Pratensis perform from a central music stand, singing from the original notation scored in a large choir book. This approach, together with attention to the linguistic origin of the compositions and the modal system on which it is based, offers a unique perspective on the repertoire.
This recording aims to recapture a sense of the ceremonial context that would have surrounded Josquin’s sacred polyphony, in this case the Saturday Mass for the Blessed Virgin that took place is the Sistine Chapel in Rome during Advent. In order to get closer to the original performance practices of the papal chapel, Cappella Pratensis here sings whenever possible from scale copies of the very books used by the papal chapel.
Here, as then, the ensemble is all male (there were no boys in the papal chapel) and the number of singers is small, just two to a part, with duo and trio sections taken by solo voices. In light of the fact that most papal singers in this period were native French speakers, the Latin of Josquin’s polyphony as well as the Proper plainsongs is sung with a French accent.
1. Hymnus: Ave maris stella
2. Introitus: Rorate celi
3. Missa Ave maris stella - Kyrie
4. Missa Ave maris stella - Gloria
5. Graduale: Tollite portas
6. Alleluia: Ave Maria
7. Missa Ave maris stella - Credo
8. Offertorium: Ave Maria
9. Motet: Mittit ad virginum
10. Prefatio (+ polyphonic responses)
11. Missa Ave maris stella - Sanctus
12. Pater noster (+ polyphonic respond)
13. Missa Ave maris stella - Agnus Dei
14. Communio: Ecce virgo
15. Motet: Missus est Gabriel angelus
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