Ockeghem: Missa de Plus en Plus, Chansons

Ockeghem: Missa de Plus en Plus, Chansons

by Orlando Consort



The music of Johannes Ockeghem may represent the black belt for vocal ensembles specializing in Renaissance sacred music. Beneath an almost featureless surface, with lengthy passages of polyphony not marked off by points of imitation or anything else, it features densely mathematical hidden structures that even a listener of Ockeghem's own time would have required study in order to divine. Singers of a work like the "Missa De plus en plus," one of his more popular works, require absolute clarity, stamina, and an ability to keep the music from bogging down. There are several good recordings of the mass from British choral groups, each with its advantages and disadvantages, but this one deserves consideration, especially at a bargain price. The musicality of this veteran all-male, all-adult group is on full display here; the contrasts in the mass between the complex sections (with manipulations in a cantus firmus of a chanson by Binchois) and freer sections with reduced forces come off beautifully. And the set of chansons that round out the album are superbly done, clean but highly melodious and with each voice achieving the desired independence. The disadvantage here is the small grouping; the recording by the Tallis Scholars, although even that group is probably on the small side, comes closer to what Ockeghem intended. Ockeghem's sacred music, written for sizable Franco-Flemish cathedrals, is not meant to sound like a madrigal. Still, the chansons are a different story, and the overall effect here illuminates this difficult composer's music. Originally released on Deutsche Grammophon in 1997 and subsequently reissued several times, this album still sounds good in its 2010 release by Dutch budget label Brilliant. The packaging is butchered, however (at least in the U.S. release): Ockeghem lived from some point in the early 15th century until 1497, most assuredly not from 1659 to 1695 as the buyer will read on his/her newly purchased album.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/13/1997
Label: Polygram Records
UPC: 0028945341927
catalogNumber: 453419


  1. Missa "De plus en plus", for 4 voices
  2. Presque transi, chanson for 3 voices
  3. Prenez sur moi, chanson for 3 voices
  4. Alius discantus super "O rosa bella", for 2 voices (1 part by Ockeghem, 1 part by Giustiniani)
  5. Aultre Venus estes, chanson for 3 voices
  6. S'elle m'amera/Petite camusette, chanson for 4 voices
  7. Tant fuz gentement resjouy, chanson for 3 voices
  8. Mort, tu as navré/Miserere, motet-chanson for 4 voices

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