Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Pipelare - Missa L'Homme armé - Huelgas Ensemble

Rating: 5/5

A very beautiful disc

This is a very beautiful disc. Paul van Nevel has unearthed the work of an obscure contemporary of Josquin, and it leaves you wondering why Pipelare's work has remained obscure. It is of extremely high quality and reminds me most strongly of Heinrich Isaac, I think. A tranquil, sometimes mournful atmosphere pervades the disc but it never drags or begins to sound samey because Pipelare is so skilful as a composer.

Van Nevel and the Huelgas Ensemble do it proud here. They sing with exemplary technique and intonation, and genuine feeling for the texts. The result is beautiful, deeply spiritual and often very affecting. The motets and antiphons are all excellent and the mass setting is simply lovely, with an all male choir singing at low pitch. This gives the basses a wonderful solidity and they descend to almost Russian depths at times.

This disc is included in the wonderful box The Secret Labyrinth.  I would warmly recommend it, but it is currently unavailable. This disc is well worth the outlay on its own, though and I recommend it wholeheartedly. It's one of van Nevel's best - and that's really saying something.

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