Le Febure

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LABELS: Eufoda
WORKS: Motets
PERFORMER: Currende/Erik van Nevel
CATALOGUE NO: 1273 (distr. One For You)
Johannes Le Febure, born of a Flemish musical family, served at the court of Cardinal Andreas of Austria in Konstanz and then moved to Mainz at the very beginning of the 17th century. He is thought to have died in or soon after 1609. This disc shows him to be a composer of enormous accomplishment, well versed in the polychoral techniques being cultivated by the Venetians, and with a predilection for richly harmonised, sometimes impressively imposing scoring.Two six-voice choirs (as in the Magnificat sung here) are typical. The singers are stylishly supported by organ and string bass, which adds welcome additional colour. Some works are given with the solo voices of the Currende Consort, others with all 20 singers of the Capella Currende (Consort members are also Capella members), while others still demand a contrast of solo and choral sections. Whatever the case, the singing is always beautifully shaped and blended under the guidance of Erik van Nevel, who gives each work its due space and weight. Particularly effective is the magical contrast between the distant, ethereal high sopranos and the nearer, lower voices in ‘Angelus ad pastores’. Strangely, the booklet notes seem rather to understate the composer’s case. He may have been one of many gifted men around at the time, but on the evidence of this disc that he was gifted is beyond all reasonable doubt. Stephen Pettitt