Author Topic: Ockeghem's Office  (Read 11761 times)

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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #20 on: January 09, 2017, 10:00:57 AM »
All the recordings they did I feel is pretty special.

Ockeghem is an extremely interesting composer. This recording is rather special:



I am a great fan of Ockeghem, he is my favourite Renaissance composer of masses, but for some reason I find Missa Cuiusvis Toni hard to enjoy. It's probably me, or is this music really not very interesting to hear?  Which is your favourite mass in the collection, your favourite tone?

I have Kandel's recording, and Sound and Fury, and Clerks Group. None touch the G spot for me so far.

« Last Edit: January 09, 2017, 10:03:11 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline radicle

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #21 on: January 11, 2017, 06:19:50 PM »
Is anybody familiar with this recording?
The performers are unknown to me.



Offline San Antone

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #22 on: January 11, 2017, 06:25:49 PM »
Is anybody familiar with this recording?
The performers are unknown to me.



I was just listening to it last week.  Kevin Moll is one of the first generation of HIP/early music musicians, 1970s on.  I think he was involved in many of the L'Oiseau-Lyre EM recordings.  Good stuff.  Sorry, I got him mixed up with someone else, director of Schola Antiqua.  His name was familiar because it came up in some of the material I've been reading about Machaut.  He's  a bit younger than I thought, but a well respected EM scholar.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2017, 06:35:59 PM by sanantonio »

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #23 on: February 19, 2017, 09:32:56 AM »


A particularly robust, wide awake, visceral and exciting recording of Ockeghem's Missa Prolationum from Clemencic, I think OVPP or close, and just the voices. The balance is excellent, the ensemble is not dominated by the higher voices at all. The interpretation locates the music in the gothic rather than in the Renaissance: what I mean is that it's not sweet, angelic, smooth.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #24 on: June 04, 2017, 04:59:18 AM »


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.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2017, 05:04:51 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Que

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #25 on: June 04, 2017, 05:22:58 AM »


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.

Gio aka Giordano Bruno found this Ockeghem issue dissapointing after their successful Gombert recordings:

- - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Alas! by Gio

I gave this young ensemble, Beauty Farm, an enthusiastic review for their performance of the harmonically risky music of Nicolas Gombert, who was widely regarded in his time as the successor to Josquin. I stand by that review; that CD is one of the four or five best performances of Gombert on the market.
Alas, imagine my distress at finding this CD not quite listenable, certainly not worth listening to a second time. The interpretation is brusque and bumptious, whereas Ockeghem was the suavest and most "Apollonian" of polyphonists. Perhaps the brusqueness is intentional, a manner of distinguishing Beauty Farm from the many other ensembles that have recorded Ockeghem, If so, I simply don't like it. But the individual voices seem coarse and brusque also, with little unity of affect. There's a fatal overload of reverberation on the CD as well. This is a CD is skip, in hopes that Beauty Farm will find its Gombertian voice again.


Q

Offline GioCar

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #26 on: June 04, 2017, 06:28:22 AM »
Gio aka Giordano Bruno found this Ockeghem issue dissapointing after their successful Gombert recordings:

- - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Alas! by Gio

I gave this young ensemble, Beauty Farm, an enthusiastic review for their performance of the harmonically risky music of Nicolas Gombert, who was widely regarded in his time as the successor to Josquin. I stand by that review; that CD is one of the four or five best performances of Gombert on the market.
Alas, imagine my distress at finding this CD not quite listenable, certainly not worth listening to a second time. The interpretation is brusque and bumptious, whereas Ockeghem was the suavest and most "Apollonian" of polyphonists. Perhaps the brusqueness is intentional, a manner of distinguishing Beauty Farm from the many other ensembles that have recorded Ockeghem, If so, I simply don't like it. But the individual voices seem coarse and brusque also, with little unity of affect. There's a fatal overload of reverberation on the CD as well. This is a CD is skip, in hopes that Beauty Farm will find its Gombertian voice again.


Q

Don't trust too much who gave 5 stars to a pasta made with spelt flour... >:D

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #27 on: June 04, 2017, 06:35:40 AM »
Gio aka Giordano Bruno found this Ockeghem issue dissapointing after their successful Gombert recordings:

- - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Alas! by Gio

I gave this young ensemble, Beauty Farm, an enthusiastic review for their performance of the harmonically risky music of Nicolas Gombert, who was widely regarded in his time as the successor to Josquin. I stand by that review; that CD is one of the four or five best performances of Gombert on the market.
Alas, imagine my distress at finding this CD not quite listenable, certainly not worth listening to a second time. The interpretation is brusque and bumptious, whereas Ockeghem was the suavest and most "Apollonian" of polyphonists. Perhaps the brusqueness is intentional, a manner of distinguishing Beauty Farm from the many other ensembles that have recorded Ockeghem, If so, I simply don't like it. But the individual voices seem coarse and brusque also, with little unity of affect. There's a fatal overload of reverberation on the CD as well. This is a CD is skip, in hopes that Beauty Farm will find its Gombertian voice again.


Q

I hadn't seen that, the suave Apollonian conception is Clerks Group I think. I wouldn't like to say that that approach fits Ockeghem most naturally, that his music is naturally suave. Neither would I say that I find Clerks Group more stimulating than Beauty Farm, though it's probably more soothing. I don't know what he means by unity of affect, I do not agree that the individual voices sound coarse and brusque, though I agree they don't sound suave. Maybe coarse and brusque is just the opposite of suave, but art isn't so binary.

Anyway, I wouldn't be dismissive because, as I've tried to suggest, the approach is interesting, especially harmonically.

I didn't like the recorded sound at first, it's loud and close, I still don't really like it.  I think the treble is too bright. But it helps greatly to turn the volume down and have a glass of wine and you can imagine yourself in an old stone church, front row.

The Apollonian thing makes me think of what I see as the latest ideas in early music singing, a move towards sensuality. Apollo wasn't sensual was he?
« Last Edit: June 04, 2017, 06:39:37 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #28 on: June 23, 2017, 08:03:31 PM »


A very spiritual performance, full of life, of the l'homme armé mass here by Jeremy Summerly.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #29 on: June 25, 2017, 11:23:35 AM »


Today I discovered the L'Homme Armé mass from Ensemble Nusmido. The singers were students of Rebecca Stewart, and their style resembles the style in the early recordings of Cappella Pratensis as well as the Heinrich Isaac Fromm Cantus Modalis.

I love this way of singing, where the voice starts small and sweet. I expect this will become one of my favourite Ock recordings.

http://www.erhardt-martin.de/nusmido_eng.html
« Last Edit: June 25, 2017, 11:26:58 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Vinbrulé

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #30 on: March 24, 2019, 02:14:55 AM »
Strong and vibrant sound from Diabolus in Musica (perhaps the pitch has been lowered ??  )

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #31 on: March 24, 2019, 02:18:40 AM »
Strong and vibrant sound from Diabolus in Musica (perhaps the pitch has been lowered ??  )

I think it's more true to say that the pitch has been raised in most other recordings. My mistake, I'm mixing up the La Rue and the Ockeghem.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2019, 02:22:03 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline San Antone

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #32 on: March 24, 2019, 04:47:33 AM »
I don't believe that there was an idea of correct pitch for a piece during Ocheghem's time.  It was more a product of what was comfortable for a group of singers.  Manuscripts would describe intervals and could be done at different pitch levels.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #33 on: March 24, 2019, 06:08:07 AM »
This is something I've been meaning to look into since hearing Diabolus in Musica  sing requiems, here's some notes from the recording by the Vox Ensemble

Quote
Extreme Singing La Rue Requiem and other Low Masterpieces of the Renaissance


In the Middle Ages the range of notated music was strictly limited. The lowest written pitch was the G an eleventh below middle C—the lowest line on a modern staff using bass clef—and the highest pitch was the E a tenth above middle C. These available pitches were known as the "gamut," a term derived from the formal name of the lowest G, "gamma ut." Although to modern eyes this gamut seems limited, it was more than adequate for music of the time. Not until the late fourteenth century did composers begin to venture below the gamut, and then only rarely. Even today most music for bass voices stays firmly on the staff.


Noteworthy, then, are the more than 100 pieces from the Renaissance that regularly descend to the E, E-flat, D, C, 13-flat, and even A below the gamut. These are concentrated largely in the period between 1475 and 1525, a time that is marked by a dramatic rise in polyphonic expressions of mourning. Although numerous elegiac compositions remained comfortably within the gamut, a large proportion of pieces that explore the lowest ranges are works of sorrow and loss. Indeed, four of the five compositions using the very lowest pitches are pieces about death or mourning. Extremes of grief inspired extremes of range.

The symbolic power of these low notes is obvious, and they raise the question as to whether they were, indeed, purely symbolic: were singers really expected to produce these pitches? There was no fixed pitch standard, after all, during the Renaissance or for quite some time thereafter. Yet a number of factors suggest that the low notes were not simply Augenmusik, music for the eyes, but rather had a sounding existence as well—that extreme singing flourished under the right circumstances.

Perhaps most telling is that some of these works exist in two versions, one at low pitch and another transposed into higher vocal ranges. Such transposition is completely unnecessary if written pitch lacks any relation to sounding pitch.

Another significant factor is that the composer who most frequently explored the lowest ranges, Pierre de la Rue (d. 1518), spent decades of his professional life writing for the chapel of the Habsburg-Burgundian court. This chapel was one of the musical wonders of the day. During the time that La Rue was there, from at least 1492 to 1516, there were never fewer than fifteen members and sometimes as many as thirty-eight, a staggering number for the period. They had a huge repertory and a heavy performing schedule, with a daily polyphonic mass and offices. They accompanied their rulers across Europe, and contemporary chronicles are unanimous in praise of the musicians. That this was an ensemble of extraordinary performers seems to go without saying, and that La Rue would tailor his compositions to their specific strengths appears equally obvious. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that he was writing for some fairly spectacular basses, and it is also noteworthy that La Rue's most famous predecessor in the use of low ranges, Johannes Ockeghem, was himself documented as a gifted bass.


We might reasonably ask whether the low B•flat of La Rue's time would have precisely matched that pitch today. We don't know, nor we will ever find out. But it is striking that the ranges used for "normal" music around 1500 are the same as those for "normal" music today, suggesting that, at least for voices, pitch standards haven't changed all that much, if at all. On this recording all of the compositions are performed at written pitch, and each selection is a first of its kind in some way. What the recording demonstrates conclusively is that the kind of extreme singing that these exceptional pieces seem to call for is perfectly possible—when done by exceptional singers.
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Offline San Antone

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #34 on: March 24, 2019, 06:42:45 AM »
My understanding is that a clef was used purely to have the range of a part fit on the four line stave as much as possible and not to indicate starting pitch. 

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #35 on: March 24, 2019, 08:38:07 AM »
My understanding is that a clef was used purely to have the range of a part fit on the four line stave as much as possible and not to indicate starting pitch.

This is something which a medievalist who works at Kings College London once said to me in a discussion of the most appropriate types of voices for the Machaut mass, though I don't know about your word "purely". It may be that we just don't know about pitch conventions.

Even if it still applies in the C15 (which we didn't discuss) , it doesn't follow that

It was more a product of what was comfortable for a group of singers. 

and indeed this suggestion from Vox Ensemble is not uninteresting

Quote
We might reasonably ask whether the low B•flat of La Rue's time would have precisely matched that pitch today. We don't know, nor we will ever find out. But it is striking that the ranges used for "normal" music around 1500 are the same as those for "normal" music today, suggesting that, at least for voices, pitch standards haven't changed all that much, if at all.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2019, 08:46:59 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #37 on: March 24, 2019, 11:56:09 AM »
Interesting discussion of this here (page 20 and 21):

https://books.google.dk/books?id=NMjNG3OSedUC&pg=PA22&lpg=PA22&dq=pitch+in+medieval+music&source=bl&ots=QqyKb6liqE&sig=ACfU3U3f-znoquiY_ohTLkNnt2LN7mbq_w&hl=da&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiEoIL6vZvhAhXFJVAKHaFyAaYQ6AEwC3oECAgQAQ#v=onepage&q=pitch%20in%20medieval%20music&f=false

It's just assertion and no argument. She just tells us that sometimes it's challenging to sing at pitch and infers that singing at pitch isn't the right way to make the music. It's like those people who used to argue that you couldn't sing Machaut polyphony a capella because it's too difficult.

Look we now have two recordings of the De La Rue requiem at pitch I think, Vox Ensemble and Diabolus in Musica, so it can be done.
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Offline (: premont :)

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #38 on: March 24, 2019, 12:25:24 PM »
It is rather improbable, that any absolute pitch was defined in the Medieval age. As "late" as in the Baroque age we have records of very varying pitch, defined from preserved organ pipes, other musical instruments and tuning forks. According to Thurston Dart the a' might vary from 337 (Silbermann organ in Strassbourg) to 489 (organ in Sct. Jacobi Hamburg). It is indeed difficult to maintain that the pitch was better defined in the Medieval age. So the only logical conclusion is to assume, that the pitch which was used for a given musical work depended upon local circumstances. 
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #39 on: March 24, 2019, 01:33:08 PM »
Roger Bowers in his paper on "English Church Polyphony" (in Boorman, Studies in the Performance of Late Medieval Music) says that it was not until the late 15th century at the earliest that the clef started to assume the role of conveying exact pitch. This is confirmed by some of the things that Peter Philips says in  his paper "Beyond Authenticity" (in Knighton and Fallows, Companion to Medieval Music)

You see the problem -- Ockeghem died in 1497 and de la Rue in 1518. They're at the start of this change.  I guess it's not out of the question that the clef signified exact pitch in the La Rue Requiem then.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2019, 01:40:13 PM by Mandryka »
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