LABELS: ASV Gaudeamus
WORKS: Missa ‘De plus en plus’; Credo ‘de village’; Gaude Maria; De plus en plus; Osculetur me; Salve regina
PERFORMER: The Clerks’ Group/Edward Wickham
CATALOGUE NO: CD GAU 153
When Ockeghem died in 1497 he was lamented in verse and music as the ‘good father’ of the leading composers of the day. Edward Wickham has been gradually preparing for the composer’s 500th anniversary with a series of splendid recordings of his great masses and motets. This present disc provides a worthy sequel to the Missa Ecce ancilla Domini (on the Proudsound label) and the Missa Mi-Mi and Missa Prolationum (both on ASV Gaudeamus).
The Missa De plus en plus is a marvellously varied work but very difficult to sing because the ecstatic spinning out of the melodies refuses to recognise the need to breathe, and the texture is constantly breaking down into lovely but intricate duets. The Clerks’ Group copes well with all of this, though when there is imitation between the voices (as at ‘Et iterum’ from the Credo) the fine articulation of the bass voice is not always matched by the others. The ‘five motets’ of the disc title are, in fact, three motets, an isolated Credo movement (beautifully rendered) and Binchois’s chanson De plus en plus which receives a slightly hesitant performance with an odd change of voicing at the words ‘Ma volenté’. The final item is a motet (Gaude Maria), full of singing that is lucid and flexible. Anthony Pryer