WORKS: Missa Au travail suis; Missa De plus en plus
PERFORMER: Tallis Scholars/Peter Phillips
CATALOGUE NO: 454 935-2
Johannes Ockeghem worked first in Antwerp and then served in Paris under three French kings. He died in 1497 and we can be sure that this anniversary year will see nearly all the works of this great composer appearing in the recording catalogues (his complete chansons are already available on L’Oiseau-Lyre).
This recording of the mass De plus en plus appears just one month after the version by Edward Wickham and The Clerks’ Group on ASV Gaudeamus (see January). The Tallis Scholars have gone for a fuller choral sound (though the number of singers is about the same as Wickham’s group), grand and impassioned, which works well, especially in the majestically unfolding harmonies of the Credo. Also, their performance of the chanson ‘De plus en plus’ is more assured than that of the Clerks’ Group, though their recorded sound quality is noticeably more distant and veiled. Also included here is the exquisite Missa Au travail suis, the first recording of this work since Alexander Blachly’s fine attempt in the Seventies. The grand manner of the Tallis group sits rather awkwardly with the miniature dimensions of this piece and their sudden outburst of passion at the end of the Credo sounds rather forced. But the quiet repose of the Agnus is magical. Anthony Pryer