COMPOSERS: Busnois,etc,Isaac,Josquin Des Prez,Senfl
LABELS: ASV Gaudeamus
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Missa Fortuna Desperata
WORKS: Masses & motets
PERFORMER: The Clerks’ Group/Edward Wickham
CATALOGUE NO: CD GAU 220
The goddess Fortuna was a powerful symbol for the medieval and Renaissance periods when life was inclined to be nasty, brutish and short. This CD follows a thread of connected works on the theme of Lady Fortune beginning with a beautifully rendered version of the chanson ‘Fortuna desperata’.
That chanson, in turn, was used by Josquin as the basic material for his Missa Fortuna desperata. Here we have a terrific recording of the Mass, full of understanding and clearly benefiting from the intimate experience of performing it from an original source. It is good, too, to have a first recording of the anonymous ‘Consideres mes incessantes’, recently attributed to Josquin. Less happy are the performances of the group of chansons following the Mass: the phrasing seems decidedly awkward and breathless – especially in the intricate ‘La plus de plus’. But we are soon back on track with some fascinating and highly musical first recordings of works by Senfl, Isaac and Greiter. The Clerks’ Group was responsible for the CD which accompanied the recently published Josquin Companion (reviewed in May), and we must hope that it will explore the Josquin repertoire in the same comprehensive manner as its acclaimed Ockeghem series. Anthony Pryer