Beautiful but lacking real depth
There is a lot to like about this Josquin recording, but for me there is something missing at its heart.
The programme is excellent – a fine selection of Josquin’s works, includingNymphes des Bois, his magnificent lament for Ockeghem, and the psalm setting for which the disc is named, Miserere mei, which I think is one of the greatest glories of the Renaissance. The singing is technically excellent, with impeccable intonation and a lovely overall sound, helped by a lower, Flemish pitch and quite a resonant acoustic. This gives a beautiful rich timbre to the music which is very seductive.
However...under that lovely sound I think the performance lacks a real engagement with the texts, with little sense to me of a depth of spirituality or emotional weight. Tempi are generally fairly quick which doesn’t help the effect, and I get a sense of nipping through the works rather than really exploring their meaning and bringing out the real depth in the music.
I do like this disc and I have no complaints about the beauty of the sound, but by comparison with some other recordings like those by The Hilliard Ensemble or Cinquecento, I find it a little shallow. This is a personal sense, of course, and you may not agree, but my recommendation is slightly qualified.