Barbireau, Obrecht, Pipelare & Pullois

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Barbireau,Obrecht,Pipelare & Pullois
LABELS: ASV Gaudeamus
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: The Clerks’ Group
WORKS: Barbireau: Missa Virgo parens Christi; works by Obrecht, Pipelare & Pullois
PERFORMER: The Clerks’ Group/Edward Wickham
The main work on this disc is the Missa Virgo parens Christi by Jacobus Barbireau – a fresh, appealing work, if not as inspired as Mass settings by his contemporaries Obrecht and Josquin. The Clerks’ Group deserves full credit for returning to the original notation to perform it – no mean feat for singers grounded in modern notation and with the increasing pressures on rehearsal and recording time. In concert, the differences are striking, with the singers clustered shoulder to shoulder, all reading from the same book. Purely audible differences, however, are subtle: the performance is certainly fluid, perhaps because there are no bar-lines in the original source; but more obviously, the fact that the singers have clearly spent so long mastering the piece means that they all sing and breathe as one. The result is affectingly intimate – a far cry from the grandiose gestures of conducted choirs, yet with impeccable ensemble and musical integrity. The disc also includes accomplished performances of Obrecht’s highly intricate motet Salve sancta facies/Homo quidam and a rather fine Credo by the little-known composer Matthaeus Pipelare. Kate Bolton