Author Topic: Jacob Obrecht, Alexander Agricola & Heinrich Isaac.  (Read 7192 times)

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Offline Mandryka

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Jacob Obrecht, Alexander Agricola & Heinrich Isaac.
« on: December 11, 2015, 10:45:06 PM »
I hope no one minds if I kick this off by asking a question about the early music analogue of the Missa Solemnis, the extraordinary Missa Maria Zart.

How do you find Peter Philips's recording? Has anyone heard the LP by Madrigal Singers of Prague? I'm tempted to get it, but I'd like to know what the style's like first.

« Last Edit: April 27, 2016, 08:10:28 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Recordings of the music of Jacob Obrecht
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2015, 11:12:06 PM »
Other recordings of Obrecht's sacred music I've enjoyed.

Top of the list is Cappella Pratensis's mass. And The Clerks Group recording with the Missa Sub Tuum Praesidium. I have a couple of recordings on order now - Clerks Group doing Missa Malheur me bat, and the CD from The Sound and The Fury. I  also like the mass recording from Oxford Camerata very much.

And then there are all those CDs from Janos Bali and his Hungarian Choir. Does anyone like his way with the music?
« Last Edit: December 11, 2015, 11:19:11 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline The new erato

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Re: Recordings of the music of Jacob Obrecht
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2015, 02:50:32 AM »
I hope no one minds if I kick this off by asking a question about the early music analogue of the Missa Solemnis, the extraordinary Missa Maria Zart.

How do you find Peter Philips's recording? Has anyone heard the LP by Madrigal Singers of Prague? I'm tempted to get it, but I'd like to know what the style's like first.


I have  the Supraphon LP in front of me writing this, but perversely haven't  had my record player connected to my system for 15 years. I also have the P P CD and cannot remember anything besides liking it. An astounding work and Obrecht probably (?) the most underrecorded polyphonist of them all (Isaac also comes to mind).

Offline The new erato

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Re: Recordings of the music of Jacob Obrecht
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2015, 02:55:37 AM »
There's also the Missa Sicut Rosa Spinum on this recommended disc:


Offline Mandryka

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Re: Recordings of the music of Jacob Obrecht
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2015, 08:07:12 AM »
I have  the Supraphon LP in front of me writing this, but perversely haven't  had my record player connected to my system for 15 years. I also have the P P CD and cannot remember anything besides liking it. An astounding work and Obrecht probably (?) the most underrecorded polyphonist of them all (Isaac also comes to mind).

Does the LP sleeve say what the scale of it is? Do they use instruments? Big choir or small?

This is such an important piece I think -- the Peter Philips recording is very satisfactory too. On amazon you'll read complaining reviews which say that it's boring music, but I think it's full of major events, and has a rigour which, as always with Obrecht, makes me think of composers like J S Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven. If you're not dependent on music stuffed with tunes you can hum and rhythms you can tap your feet to, then I think you'll be bowled over by the mass.  And someone complains that The Tallis Singers are too cold and too risk-averse, but I think that's nonsense.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2015, 08:10:28 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline The new erato

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Re: Recordings of the music of Jacob Obrecht
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2015, 08:28:58 AM »
Does the LP sleeve say what the scale of it is? Do they use instruments? Big choir or small?

This is such an important piece I think -- the Peter Philips recording is very satisfactory too. On amazon you'll read complaining reviews which say that it's boring music, but I think it's full of major events, and has a rigour which, as always with Obrecht, makes me think of composers like J S Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven. If you're not dependent on music stuffed with tunes you can hum and rhythms you can tap your feet to, then I think you'll be bowled over by the mass.  And someone complains that The Tallis Singers are too cold and too risk-averse, but I think that's nonsense.
Now I'm out of town, I'll  try to remember to chech/czech when I'm back tomorrow.

Offline The new erato

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Re: Recordings of the music of Jacob Obrecht
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2015, 05:18:16 AM »
Yep, instruments it is.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Recordings of the music of Jacob Obrecht
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2015, 09:06:46 AM »
Yep, instruments it is.

Instruments I can live with. However I managed to find a recording of them singing a Dufay mass and it was full of bumpy accents at the beginning of alleged bars, and the voices were shrill. So I think I'll give their Obrecht a miss. But thanks for checking.
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Offline The new erato

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Re: Recordings of the music of Jacob Obrecht
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2015, 09:11:37 AM »
Instruments I can live with. However I managed to find a recording of them singing a Dufay mass
La face ay Pale? I have that as well. Bought at a time when these in many regards were the only game in town. How things have changed!

Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Recordings of the music of Jacob Obrecht
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2015, 09:21:29 AM »
I read somewhere that Obrecht was the first composer to leave a significant body of instrumental music. Are there any recordings focusing on it?
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Recordings of the music of Jacob Obrecht
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2015, 01:18:03 PM »
I read somewhere that Obrecht was the first composer to leave a significant body of instrumental music. Are there any recordings focusing on it?

I didn't know that he had written purely instrumental music, so I can't help you.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Recordings of the music of Jacob Obrecht
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2015, 01:21:40 PM »
Some things by  Obrecht sound like no one else that I know. I've been listen the Christmans motet Factor Orbis (The Clerks Group) together with the commentary by Jennifer Bloxam here.

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=n0ct5-2sQ9gC&pg=PA174&lpg=PA174&dq=obrecht+factor+orbis+exegesis&source=bl&ots=0j_GVrJomS&sig=zP5OF6qvKNQdd9BDYcE-rwBuW1w&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjjyuq_4NnJAhXLcRQKHfaOAZ8Q6AEIKTAB#v=onepage&q=obrecht%20factor%20orbis%20exegesis&f=false

So it looks as though Obrecht was writing exegetical music. This is new territory for me, I know that people argue that Bach's choral preludes are musical exegeses, but I've never seen it argued for any other composer.
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Offline Florestan

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Re: Recordings of the music of Jacob Obrecht
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2015, 01:23:58 PM »
Some things by  Obrecht sound like no one else that I know. I've been listen the Christmans motet Factor Orbis (The Clerks Group) together with the commentary by Jennifer Bloxam here.

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=n0ct5-2sQ9gC&pg=PA174&lpg=PA174&dq=obrecht+factor+orbis+exegesis&source=bl&ots=0j_GVrJomS&sig=zP5OF6qvKNQdd9BDYcE-rwBuW1w&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjjyuq_4NnJAhXLcRQKHfaOAZ8Q6AEIKTAB#v=onepage&q=obrecht%20factor%20orbis%20exegesis&f=false

So it looks as though Obrecht was writing exegetical music. This is new territory for me, I know that people argue that Bach's choral preludes are musical exegeses, but I've never seen it argued for any other composer.

What do you mean by exegetical?
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Recordings of the music of Jacob Obrecht
« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2015, 01:24:41 PM »
La face ay Pale? I have that as well. Bought at a time when these in many regards were the only game in town. How things have changed!

No it was Ave Regina Caelorum
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Recordings of the music of Jacob Obrecht
« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2015, 01:29:05 PM »
What do you mean by exegetical?

I mean that the music contains a commentary on the associated text.
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Offline Florestan

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Re: Recordings of the music of Jacob Obrecht
« Reply #15 on: December 13, 2015, 01:37:08 PM »
I mean that the music contains a commentary on the associated text.

Then the most exegetic music there is must be Kuhnau´s Biblical Sonatas.  :D
Chaque fleur s'évapore ainsi qu'un encensoir;
Le violon frémit comme un cœur qu'on afflige;
Valse mélancolique et langoureux vertige!
Le ciel est triste et beau comme un grand reposoir.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Recordings of the music of Jacob Obrecht
« Reply #16 on: December 13, 2015, 01:43:33 PM »
Then the most exegetic music there is must be Kuhnau´s Biblical Sonatas.  :D

It depends. If it comments on and elucidates the texts, revealing subtle or hidden meanings, then yes. If it just depicts  the text, then, well . . . it's not very interesting from this point of view. It's like the difference between a sermon by Luther and a picture from a children's bible. I haven't explored Kuhnau much.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2015, 01:45:20 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Florestan

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Re: Recordings of the music of Jacob Obrecht
« Reply #17 on: December 13, 2015, 01:46:16 PM »
It depends. If it comments on and elucidates the texts, revealing subtle or hidden meanings, then yes.

Opera in a nutshell.  :D

Chaque fleur s'évapore ainsi qu'un encensoir;
Le violon frémit comme un cœur qu'on afflige;
Valse mélancolique et langoureux vertige!
Le ciel est triste et beau comme un grand reposoir.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Recordings of the music of Jacob Obrecht
« Reply #18 on: December 13, 2015, 02:00:54 PM »
Opera in a nutshell.  :D

Yes. When I started to listen to and read about Factor Orbis I couldn't stop myself thinking of those quintets and sextets in Cosi fan Tutte. And what a shame it is that Wagner didn't complete his Buddhist opera, or the Gospel of St Matthew. Of course, the best exegetical music is when the text isn't actually there.

I think that History of Photography in Sound is probably exegetical. But I'm not sure.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2015, 02:03:21 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Florestan

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Re: Recordings of the music of Jacob Obrecht
« Reply #19 on: December 13, 2015, 02:04:35 PM »
Yes. When I started to listen to and read about Factor Orbis I couldn't stop myself thinking of those quintets and sextets in Cosi fan Tutte.

Soave sia il vento, perhaps certainly the most heartfelt trio ever.  8)
Chaque fleur s'évapore ainsi qu'un encensoir;
Le violon frémit comme un cœur qu'on afflige;
Valse mélancolique et langoureux vertige!
Le ciel est triste et beau comme un grand reposoir.