Author Topic: Ockeghem's Office  (Read 11856 times)

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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #60 on: March 28, 2019, 12:14:40 PM »
But is this really Ockeghem's output ? 

I don't know, to be honest I just don't know what the question means.

After having listened to the Missa Prolationum and the Requiem . . .

You can't do that. You're always going to be listening to someone's performance edition of a manuscript which probably leaves a lot of material unclear given the current state of knowledge. The parts are probably not aligned with bar markings like a modern score; the text of some of the voices is probably not written under the music, if written at all; accidentals and rhythms and dynamics and speeds and absolute pitches aren't shown, or embellishments. (I need to say that I haven't explored the manuscripts of these masses, the only one I've looked at is L'homme arme. But what I'm suggesting is very common I'm told.)

What's more, singing style is not well understood -- I mean, how singers should make sounds, and how expressive they should be.

And this is all happening in a context where people have, for a while now, been singing C15 music in a way which is rather like the way they sing C18 music: consonance and chord resolution maximised, smoothly lyrical,  all the voices lined up like soldiers, singers projecting to the audience firmly and powerfully, like entertainers. The baroque-ation of the medieval. To bring Ockeghem to life, to give him back his medieval identity, it may be a good thing to make it sound strange. Hence my concern about your word

really   


« Last Edit: March 28, 2019, 12:31:51 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Verena

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #61 on: March 28, 2019, 12:15:50 PM »
Great!

This is an article about the approach to performing early music which is at the basis of these recordings

http://www.cantusmodalis.org/

Thanks! Looks very interesting.

Offline Vinbrulé

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #62 on: April 08, 2019, 05:45:03 AM »


There's another CD that is inspired by the same sort of ideas, but  a different lineup





  Beautiful.  Perfect blend voices/instruments .  Thanks

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #63 on: April 08, 2019, 06:53:12 AM »
Here's the man himself, Maurice van Lieshout with a bit of Marenzio, rather nice I think, with the same strangely chromatic blend, presumably caused by clever ways the singers use enharmonics etc.

But what most amused me about this is the way he conducts, which is very much like Bjorn Schmelzer! It looks ridiculous to me, but evidently it works . . . maybe where you give the singers so much freedom of expression you have to be clear about how you want to keep them all together, and so the big gestures are necessary.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/lVupfEzXySk" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/lVupfEzXySk</a>
« Last Edit: April 08, 2019, 06:56:05 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline San Antone

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #64 on: April 08, 2019, 05:02:21 PM »
Really good recording of this work:



Ockeghem : Missa Prolationum
The Sound & the Fury

I like it better than the Hilliard's, which, like most of their recordings, is good but somewhat too smooth.  The Bo Holten and Musica Ficta recording on Naxos, with the large mixed choir is not something I prefer, nor does it suit the music, IMO.  I haven't heard Lucian Kandel's Musica Nova recording, but he usually chooses to depart from what I consider period performance.  The Clerks' Group has done this work, and they are usually reliable, but I have found their ensemble vocal blend to be somewhat severe to my ears.

So, the Sound and the Fury come out on top.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2019, 05:16:56 PM by San Antone »

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #65 on: April 08, 2019, 07:37:14 PM »
The Sound and the Fury recorded it twice, the one in your picture is their second. The first (with L’homme armé) is here



There’s also Clemencic. I can upload Kandel’s recording for you if you want, and indeed the first S&F recording above.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2019, 07:42:23 PM by Mandryka »
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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #66 on: April 08, 2019, 08:00:43 PM »
Really good recording of this work:



Ockeghem : Missa Prolationum
The Sound & the Fury

I like it better than the Hilliard's, which, like most of their recordings, is good but somewhat too smooth.  The Bo Holten and Musica Ficta recording on Naxos, with the large mixed choir is not something I prefer, nor does it suit the music, IMO.  I haven't heard Lucian Kandel's Musica Nova recording, but he usually chooses to depart from what I consider period performance.  The Clerks' Group has done this work, and they are usually reliable, but I have found their ensemble vocal blend to be somewhat severe to my ears.

So, the Sound and the Fury come out on top.
Up is down in Tennessee I guess! I stopped listening. The recorded sound is excellent, but I am astounded you can call the Clerks harsh compared to this. You could drive away alley cats with this.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #67 on: April 09, 2019, 03:15:05 AM »
There’s also Clemencic.

And here it is, the whole thing’s there, well worth a listen I’d say

<a href="https://youtube.com/v/yI3B10b0CNc" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://youtube.com/v/yI3B10b0CNc</a>

In fact I don’t know much about this mass, or the other one that’s similar, Cuiusvis Toni.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2019, 03:22:44 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #68 on: April 09, 2019, 07:19:18 AM »
The Mass Quinti Toni is one of my favourite things by Ockeghem, if not my most favourite, because the music is so sensual and intimate and plastic. Who could fail to be moved to bits by the extraordinary stillness of the Credo??!!!

There is a recording on LP by the Syntagma Musicum which I haven't been able to hear. I know some of their work and they are exceptional. In addition Beauty Farm recorded it and of course, so did Clerks Group, but neither float my boat, the latter too loud and proud for me, and the former a bit too plain Jane . . . the effect of doing a complete survey maybe, you get the feeling of routine  . . . excellent routine but routine nonetheless.

Nearly two years ago I wrote this about the Beauty Farm



Beauty Farm sing Ockeghem's Missa Quinti Toni. It's an interesting recording for the devotional and noble tempos, and above all for the way they ornament and voice the music to produce dissonances. Their sound is very dynamic and thrilling, which in a way befits the disorienting effect of the harmonies. There's a strong impression of individuals being receptive to each other but making no attempt to lose their identities in a blend.  It's impressive and challenging music making, and I can't say anything sensible about the quality of what they do, other than the experience of listening to it plunges you into an alien world - a world very very far from the way I'm used to hearing 17th and 16th century music.

Now I have less tolerance for a "very dynamic and thrilling sound"  and I no longer think that this way of singing "befits the disorienting effect of the harmonies", on the contrary in fact, the dynamism smacks of the baroque and Beethoven.

Fortunately there is a recording of it which gets closer to how this sort of music sounds in my imagination, from the group Schola Discantus, an american ensemble directed by an academic in the field, Kevin Moll.



Kevin Moll has got his singers to produce sounds in a non explosive way, they sing expressively and independently, and it's not telephoned in.

The booklet essay is excellent and there's a section on performance which gives a bit of insight into some of the difficulties

Quote
PERFORMANCE

Probably the most signal accomplishment of musicological study in the last hundred years has been the transcription and publication of a large body of the music written before about 1600. In manuscript form, almost all music from the Middle Ages and Renaissance presents an insurmountable barrier to modern musicians. There are two main reasons for this: First, the notation itself, while appearing generally analogous to modern note shapes and functions, manifests certain conventions which are peculiar to the period in question, and as such require much study to master their meaning. Perhaps the best and most common example of such conventions is the writing of a series of notes bound together, which look like this:

<SNIP>

The relative rhythmic values of these so-called "ligatures" are determined by a set of complex rules dating back to the 13th century. The other main reason for inaccessibility is that the music of this period was displayed on the page almost exclusively in parts (one voice at a time), not in.score (with the various voices aligned with each other vertically). As a result, the pieces must literally be reconstructed into score format before the piece can be reliably understood and, subsequently, performed. Thus, the medieval and Renaissance repertories are not readily accessible to anyone (except highly qualified specialists) until the original notation is deciphered and presented in a more readable form. But the existence of a reliable modern edition of a given work is not yet a guarantee that all performance questions have been answered. Athough the pieces represented on this disc are indeed available in a modern edition by Dragan Plamenac (published originally in 1927 and revised in 1959), it is still impossible to perform them without making several additional, very fundamental decisions regarding performing forces, tempos, and, in many cases, even the pitches themselves. Sometimes these decisions are arrived at through familiarity of modern literature on performance practice; sometimes the original manuscripts themselves must be consulted to verify individual readings or policies of the editor; and sometimes decisions are made simply on the basis of musical necessity or individual taste.


The first question which must invariably be asked is: To what performing media do we assign the various parts? In the relatively recent past it had been standard practice to allot certain lines to instruments, either alone or doubling the voices. During the 1960s the New York Pro Musica recorded a mass by Obrecht utilizing a veritable symphony orchestra of period instruments, as well as soloists and a large choir of over 20 singers. Modern scholarship has largely debunked the historical validity of such a conception of performing forces. Instead, it seems clear from payroll and other archival records that sacred polyphony was most typically performed a cappella. The quantity of singers on a part is also a question, but it seems likely that in the major court chapels of the mid-15th century, choral performance involving a small number of singers was common practice. Therefore we have opted for a performance with three singers on the top part and two on each of the other two parts. Such an arrangement provides for clarity of line and tone without sacrificing volume. • In any performance of music incorporating words, the performer can scarcely afford to ignore their delivery and their relationship to the notes which carry them. This is particularly true in early music, where the words are seldom fitted to the music in an unambiguous manner. For this recording, it was decided to follow for the most part the decisions of the editor regarding text underlay, even though Plamenac himself indicates the problematic nature of texting in the manuscript sources of both masses, particularly for the third voice (Contratenor or Bassus). The pronunciation generally follows the standardized rules of ecclesiastical Latin, an anachronism adopted only on account of the paucity of authoritative information on the abstruse subject of how the language would have been pronounced in late—medieval Flanders..

Another problem involves the performing pitch of the works. This is a critical factor, for which the actual -I-1- vocal ranges of the individual performers must be taken into account. In the Missa Quinti toni, the decision was made to transpose the work up a minor second.; the piece is written in F, so the resulting sounding pitch is F=. Since there was clearly nopitch standard in the 15th century, a half-step transposition should be fully justifiable. Determining the pitch of the Missa Sine nomine, on the other hand, seas an altogether more daunting task, since, in its notated form, the tessituras of every voice part are improbably high. Given the fact that this piece is written in a G mode with a B flat signature, a condition which some contemporary theoretical evidence suggests was a signal for transposition, we have not hesitated to transpose the entire piece down fully a fifth, which puts the mass into voice ranges much more typical of the period_ No aspect of performance affects the hearer with more immediacy than the issue of tempos, an area of great complexity and one that is still under controversy. For this recording, the tempos were chosen according to a basic pulse, or Cactus, denoted by the undiminished time signatures: 0 and C, which represent about 60 beats per minute in triple and duple mensurations, respectively. The "diminished" time signatures (0 and C, discussed above) have been interpreted as being faster, in an approximately 4 : 3 proportion to the Cactus. However, these basic tempos have not been rigorously applied in all cases, as musical context seemed to dictate a somewhat more flexible conception of relative speeds. An additional component of performance which affects the listener strongly—if subliminally—is that of dynamics, or relative levels of volume (loud and soft). There are of course no dynamic markings in the manuscript sources, and this is one area in which the medieval theorists are virtually silent. It should not, however, be thus inferred that the music is to be performed at a constant volume level. On the contrary: factors of text, liturgical function, local musical texture, rhythmic context, and the very architectonic nature of the movements themselves, all contribute to a dynamic understanding of the individual movements, and indeed of the works as a whole.

The question of musica ficta, or application of sharps and flats not present in the manuscripts, is easy to minimize by simply adopting an editor's solutions, but it is far more advisable for the performer himself or herself to be well cognizant of the basic rules and conventions of ficta as discussed by the contemporary theorists. In the case at hand, Plamenac states that he has excercised "great restraint" in adding accidentals, "in order not to vitiate the modal character of the old works" (Introduction to Vol. 1 of the Collected Works, p. XI). In general, his decisions regarding ficta—when applied—are sound, but they are also very conservative. Upon close inspection of both masses, many additional instances were found which seemed to call for application of accidentals. Thus, most (but not all) of the ficta suggested by Plamenac has been adopted in this recording, but quite a few additional alterations have been made as well. These alterations were applied on the basis of several specific criteria, as follows:

1) Plamenac often chooses to disregard cadential motion occurring in the middle of sections. After careful examination of voice leading in relation to text phrasing, accidentals were added whenever it seemed that two or three voices made a significant interior cadence. (For example, at m. 190 in the Credo of the Missa Sine nomine, a sharp was added to the Superius note in order to effect a major-sixth-to-octave cadence with the Tenor, justified on textual and contrapuntal grounds.)
2) A smoother sonority was sometimes achieved by avoiding harmonic clashes (such as tritones) and false relations (simultaneous or contiguous notes in different voices which manifest differing inflections of the same note, for example C versus C#). Such situations obtain especially in the first section of the Gloria of the Missa Quinti toni. Here, the presence of an E flat in the signature of the Bassos seemed to call for a numberof alterations in the upper voices, particularly the Superius.


3) In the Missa Sine nomine, sharps were consistently added to the Contratenor at major cadences, in conformity with the sharps that Plamenac does add to the Superius. The result creates "double—leading—tone" cadences (discussed above), which, being typical of 14th century practice, heighten the stylistic contrast between this piece and the Missa Quinti toni. If, conversely, these sharps in the Contratenor had been omitted, the pre—cadential tritone dissonances between Superius and Contratenor would have made the entire Missa Sine nomine sound more "modern." This illustrates how a conscious ficta decision can have a quite fundamental effect upon the sonority of a work. After having worked with these two masses for many months, I am convinced that they are fully as successful aesthetically as any in the composer's canon. Why then have they never been recorded before? Probably this lack of attention is due to an unconscious bias against works with "only" three voices, when there exist many four— and five—voice works to choose from. I will leave it to the judgement of the listener as to whether the intrinsic beauty of these two masses justifies their being committed to disc. © KEVIN MOLL 1992

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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #69 on: April 12, 2019, 08:25:12 AM »
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/3jf6II2RSoo" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/3jf6II2RSoo</a>


I know some people who rate Servir Antico very highly, when I saw them I was in such a bad seat, and in such a bad mood, that I couldn't judge. But listening to them sing a bit of Ockeghem I'd certainly go out of my my to give them another chance.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #70 on: November 02, 2019, 07:18:24 AM »
Quote
Presque trainsi ung peu moins qu'estre mort
Vivant en dueil sans avoir nul confort
Veoir l'on me peut eslieus de Fortune
Qui sans cesser pis qu'aultre me fortune
Et me combas de plus fort en plus fort.

Helas je suis contre mon vueil en vie
Et si n'est riens dont tant j'ay d'envie
Que de pouvoir veoir ma fin bien prouchaine
Morir ne puis et tousjours my convie
Et m'est bien tart que du tout je desvie
A celle fin que soye hors de paine.

Il m'est advis que la mort me tient tort
Quant autrement elle ne fait son effort
De moi vengier de ma vie importune
Car je languis sans avoir joye aucune
Par mon maleur qui me devoure et mort.

    Presque trainsi ung peu moins qu'estre mort
    Vivant en dueil sans avoir nul confort
    Veoir l'on me peut eslieus de Fortune
    Qui sans cesser puis qu'aultre me fortune
    Et me combas de plus fort en plus fort.



I have four recordings of Presque Transi.

1. Orlando consort, a capella, all blokes including a countertenor singing the words, the rest vocalising.
2. La main harmonique, one tenor with a lute
3. Medieval Ensemble of London, one tenor and a lute
4. Clemencic - a little band of instruments, Dominique Visée singing  (to a rather jolly pulse)

How are we to judge Orlando’s performance, which is just so different from the rest? Has this experiment been a success or not? I don’t know.

What I can say is that Orlando’s take is drab and serious to the point of being grave, and that may well fit the lyrics of the song rather well. Presque transi, I was practically numbed listening to them.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2019, 07:21:46 AM by Mandryka »
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Online deprofundis

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #71 on: October 10, 2020, 02:18:41 AM »
Hello Mandryka and folks, I purchase a fascinating, Johannes Ockeghem, his French-chanson on Musique en Wallonie a double album 2 cd's, release in 2020, made in Austria.

This is quite a release, luxurious one, you will get all you're favorite chanson by Ockeghem. Since Ockeghem, was not just notorious for his requiem and incredible missa Missa Prolationum I.e but incredible songs as well, you guys passionate by Ockeghem should pick this one up it's awesome, on of the best album for songs of his better than what was made before

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #72 on: October 11, 2020, 01:19:22 AM »
Hello Mandryka and folks, I purchase a fascinating, Johannes Ockeghem, his French-chanson on Musique en Wallonie a double album 2 cd's, release in 2020, made in Austria.

This is quite a release, luxurious one, you will get all you're favorite chanson by Ockeghem. Since Ockeghem, was not just notorious for his requiem and incredible missa Missa Prolationum I.e but incredible songs as well, you guys passionate by Ockeghem should pick this one up it's awesome, on of the best album for songs of his better than what was made before

Well my first impression is that it’s very lively and extrovert and that makes for a lot of initial impact. Whether it’s better than the two other complete surveys - Medieval Ensemble of London and Blue Heron - is something I cannot say.

I have a sort of benchmark for singing Ockeghem, which is Cappella Pratensis’s Missa MiMi. And Cut Circle just don’t approach it with that same fluidity or sensitivity to the possibilities of interesting scrunchy harmonies. I appreciate this is just me, and anyway what they did with the mass may not even be possible with the songs.
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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #73 on: October 11, 2020, 10:12:43 AM »
Well my first impression is that it’s very lively and extrovert and that makes for a lot of initial impact. Whether it’s better than the two other complete surveys - Medieval Ensemble of London and Blue Heron - is something I cannot say.

I have a sort of benchmark for singing Ockeghem, which is Cappella Pratensis’s Missa MiMi. And Cut Circle just don’t approach it with that same fluidity or sensitivity to the possibilities of interesting scrunchy harmonies. I appreciate this is just me, and anyway what they did with the mass may not even be possible with the songs.
Everyone has the right to have an opinion,,, I will check Blue Heron do. Thanks Mandryka

Offline The new erato

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #74 on: October 11, 2020, 10:52:51 AM »
I though Blue Heron had only released one disc yet?

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #75 on: October 11, 2020, 11:25:27 AM »
I though Blue Heron had only released one disc yet?

If you look on their website I think it says that v2 is scheduled for 2022
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Offline The new erato

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #76 on: October 11, 2020, 02:14:51 PM »
So it's not complete. Sorry to be pedantic.

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #77 on: October 11, 2020, 02:55:32 PM »
Fellows did anyone heard  Ockeghem Missa De Plus en Plus chansons of Orlando Consort on Brilliant somehow I did what Madryka tell me, there is more fluidity per instance from orlando consort I don't know but it seem to be adequate, perhaps because of the shorten ensemble of tree gentelmen, very nice offering and cheap to buy, neat quality of music, and  not wallet hurting  label, Brilliant Classical we love you, never said they ever falter but  this offering relief my pain in the teeths yow. I have severe teeths ache as you all may know and darn it a good thing the boy talking is'aint made of biscuit since I survive not sleeping for a week too much pain, but who care I'm seeing the dentidt  next thursday and give me moutth relief pills and that it.

Wait , it's not in cheaper buying if your cheap,, you might like Bo Holten Musica Ficta His missa Prolationum the quintescence of Ockeghem genius quote me on that it is well incarnate, well sung, it stood time I heard it couple of time.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #78 on: October 11, 2020, 10:16:50 PM »
So it's not complete. Sorry to be pedantic.

Yes as it stands Blue Heron is no more complete than Philip Malfeyt’s cd,

I just compared Blue Heron and Cut Circle in D’un autre amer, I much prefer Blue Heron. Unfortunately I don’t have access to the Cut Circle booklet so I don’t know if they justify their approach in this song, which seems to me in need of justification.

On this little journey I stumbled across this interesting cd



https://trevocikitdownes.bandcamp.com/album/auro-2
« Last Edit: October 11, 2020, 10:28:33 PM by Mandryka »
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Online Que

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #79 on: October 12, 2020, 03:23:31 AM »
Nearly two years ago I wrote this about the Beauty Farm

Now I have less tolerance for a "very dynamic and thrilling sound"  and I no longer think that this way of singing "befits the disorienting effect of the harmonies", on the contrary in fact, the dynamism smacks of the baroque and Beethoven.

This is my general problem with Beauty Farm, and its predecessor The Sound and the Fury..... And I agree this approach is anachronistic - the need for (overly) "highlighting" musical (besides dynamics, also tempo and rhythm) and emotional contrasts is IMO very much contemporary phenomenon.

My first impression of The Cut Circle's Ockeghem songs, reinforces my impression that this is the biggest pitfall of new Early Music groups. They all should have a chat with Paul van Nevel.  8)

Q