Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Prioris - Missa Pro Defunctis - Capilla Flamenca

Rating: 5/5

A lovely disc

This is a lovely disc of relatively unknown music by Johannes Prioris, a rough contemporary of Josquin, about whose life very little is known for certain. What is certain, though, is that he was a very good composer, as evidenced by this fine setting of the Requiem Mass.

The music is a mixture of very skilful polyphony, chordal passages and homophonic writing, whose balance produces a very lovely and intensely spiritual effect. This is beautifully brought out by the excellent Capilla Flamenca who sing this wonderfully. An all-male quartet here, they sing at a lower, resonant pitch, with impeccable tuning and a fine engagement with the text. They generate a wonderfully intense feeling, wholly appropriate to this music and it's an impressive and very engaging performance. A number of organ pieces are interwoven between the polyphonic movements which for me, although no doubt historically defensible, rather broke the mood and is a feature of the disc I'm not that keen on - but that's a personal thing and others may enjoy these movements very much; they are certainly good pieces and very well played.

The recorded sound is excellent and with good, detailed notes and attractive presentation, this is, as we have come to expect from Capilla Flamenca, a fine disc all round. Very warmly recommended.

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