Friday, 10 July 2015

Lassus - Missa super Dixit Joseph etc. - Cinquecento

Rating: 5/5

Another fine release from Cinquecento

This is another fine release by the excellent Cinquecento.  I have become a real devotee of their recordings over the last few years and this is a really good one.

Lassus doesn't always inspire me.  His music can sometimes be a little ponderous to my ears and it needs a very fine performance to make it really shine.  It gets that here, and both the mass and the motets which make up this disc are very beautiful and genuinely moving in places. The mass was new to me – it's a parody mass based on Lassus's own motet Dixit Joseph Undecim Fratribus Suis and it's very good, as are the motets.  This is obviously a small selection from Lassus's vast output, and they are very well chosen to give a good variety, from the unfamiliar (to may, anyway) to the very well known Timor Et Tremor which closes the disc.

It's all beautifully sung and recorded.  Cinquecento are technically flawless, with impeccable intonation, a lovely fluency of line and a beautiful blend of the male voices.  Their lower, Flemish pitch gives the music a fabulous resonance in a perfect acoustic, and the whole thing sounds just fabulous.  They also give the texts real meaning, so the Agnus Dei, for example, really sounds like a plea for the granting of peace, and fear and trembling are plain in Timor Et Tremor.  It's exemplary singing, I think.

It often takes something quite special to really involve me in Lassus's music, and I think this is something special.  It's another gem from this very, very fine ensemble and I can recommend it very warmly.

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