Texte paru dans: / Appeared in:


Fanfare Magazine: 44:2 (11-12/2020) 
Pour s'abonner / Subscription information
Les abonnés à Fanfare Magazine ont accès aux archives du magazine sur internet.
Subscribers to Fanfare Magazine have access to the archives of the magazine on the net.



Code-barres / Barcode : /635212060827


Outil de traduction ~ (Très approximatif)
Translator tool (Very approximate)

Reviewer: J. F. Weber

The program, subtitled Josquin’s Spanish Legacy, features Victoria’s Missa Gaudeamus. It is preceded by the opening piece on which it is based, Jubilate Deo omnis terra by Cristóbal de Morales. A member of the papal choir, Morales composed the piece in 1538 for a meeting of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and Francis I of France with Pope Paul III, who was brokering a truce between the two most powerful rulers of Europe. The music has lasted much longer than the short-lived peace. While five voices sing a text praising Carolus, Franciscus, and Paulus, the tenor voice repeats a six-note ostinato on the first word of the introit antiphon, “Gaudeamus.” This is the same ostinato that Josquin used in his Missa Gaudeamus, which was based on the chant antiphon. Victoria then used the same ostinato in his Missa Gaudeamus, which was based on this motet. Between the two works, Rees performs the antiphon of the underlying chant introit.

This is an effective way of demonstrating Josquin’s Spanish legacy, which descended through Morales to Victoria. Another example is Josquin’s five-voice setting of Salve Regina (even more popular on records than his four-voice setting), preceded on the disc by the chant antiphon. It also uses ostinato technique based on the four notes of “Salve,” perhaps the most prominent use of ostinato in influencing two generations of Spanish composers. Victoria used the technique in his six-voice motet setting, one of four that he composed (the one for eight voices is the most recorded), outdoing his predecessors by adding a second ostinato on “mater misericordiae.” The Victoria motet is inserted within the Mass movements.

Rees is not done with his examples. Francisco Guerrero, a slightly older contemporary of Victoria, is represented by two motets, one using the ostinato technique, the other using canon. His most famous motet, Ave virgo sanctissima, adopts the latter approach with the four-note motto of “Salve” in the two superius voices. The program concludes with Surge propera, amica mea, a motet on a text from the Canticle of Canticles, a love poem in the literal sense, which Guerrero turns into a Marian devotion by inserting an ostinato “veni sponsa Christi” into the text. It is taken from the seventh-mode antiphon at second Vespers for the common of virgins, a simple six-note motive that serves his purpose most effectively when it occurs at the end of the motet, where the last word of the text, “veni,” coincides with the ostinato “veni sponsa Christi,” the last word ringing out on a top Eb.

Rees is a scholar and conductor of uncommon insight. He has devoted himself to several areas of Renaissance polyphony for decades, recording with several ensembles. Contrapunctus, founded a decade ago, has now made five CDs for Signum, applauded in these pages by my colleagues and myself (43:1). He uses 12 singers here, fewer in some works (the group photo shows a basic group of eight). He assigns the introit to a male soloist, while female and male soloists alternate phrases of the antiphon; I like his straightforward interpretation of the two chants.

The Victoria Mass has had five fine recordings, Michael Noone’s version in his big box (43:4) and Andrew Carwood’s earlier version (23:5) being outstanding. Rees’s group is ravishing, bringing the listener to moments that one marvels at (“et homo factus est” in the Credo). The highlight of the program is the opening motet Jubilate Deo, previously recorded by Stile antico (38:3), Alistair Dixon on this label (29:1), and A Sei Voci (13:1). Hearing it first on the disc prepares the listener for the felicities of Josquin’s legacy. This is an uncommonly fine program and recording, not to be missed.

Sélectionnez votre pays et votre devise en accédant au site de
Presto Classical
(Bouton en haut à droite)
Livraison mondiale

Pour acheter l'album
ou le télécharger

To purchase the CD
or to download it

Choose your country and curency
when reaching
Presto Classical
(Upper right corner of the page)
Worldwide delivery


Cliquez l'un ou l'autre bouton pour découvrir bien d'autres critiques de CD
 Click either button for many other reviews