Author Topic: Ockeghem's Office  (Read 12218 times)

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Offline Old San Antone

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #80 on: October 12, 2020, 03:32:49 AM »
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

Your opinion must have developed over time since a few years ago I remember you criticizing the Hilliard Ensemble because of their "angelic" sound and favoring instead The Sound and the Fury (I don't think Beauty Farm existed at that time).

Offline Que

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #81 on: October 12, 2020, 09:25:47 AM »
Your opinion must have developed over time since a few years ago I remember you criticizing the Hilliard Ensemble because of their "angelic" sound and favoring instead The Sound and the Fury (I don't think Beauty Farm existed at that time).

I cannot recall ever making a comparison between the two...

But I've had mixed feelings about TSATF right from the start, and have posted about this. Which doesn’t take away from the fact that they've done some stuff that's IMO worthwhile: Mattheus Pipelare (vol. 1, unfortunately a sequel never materialised), Firminus Caron and Guillaume Faugues vols. 1 & 2. The Beauty Farm has produced some recordings I enjoyed as well: The Gombert motets vols. 1 & 2, the Bauldeweyn masses and probably the De La Rue masses.

I still find the "angelic" approach, including upward transposition of the score, problematic in Franco-Flemish repertoire. In a way, it's another form of "highlighting" and certainly not the opposite of what I was objecting to.

BTW the Hilliard is absolutely great ensemble, though I generally prefer them on their home turf.

Q

Offline Old San Antone

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #82 on: October 12, 2020, 11:27:04 AM »
I cannot recall ever making a comparison between the two...

But I've had mixed feelings about TSATF right from the start, and have posted about this. Which doesn’t take away from the fact that they've done some stuff that's IMO worthwhile: Mattheus Pipelare (vol. 1, unfortunately a sequel never materialised), Firminus Caron and Guillaume Faugues vols. 1 & 2. The Beauty Farm has produced some recordings I enjoyed as well: The Gombert motets vols. 1 & 2, the Bauldeweyn masses and probably the De La Rue masses.

I still find the "angelic" approach, including upward transposition of the score, problematic in Franco-Flemish repertoire. In a way, it's another form of "highlighting" and certainly not the opposite of what I was objecting to.

BTW the Hilliard is absolutely great ensemble, though I generally prefer them on their home turf.

Q

It wasn't in the nature of a direct comparison, just that you responded negatively to my posting the Hilliard ensemble box of the Franco-Flemish composers. 



When I asked you for other recommendations, one group you mentioned was TSatF.  I remember because I hadn't heard of them at the time.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #83 on: October 12, 2020, 11:42:16 AM »
It wasn't in the nature of a direct comparison, just that you responded negatively to my posting the Hilliard ensemble box of the Franco-Flemish composers. 



When I asked you for other recommendations, one group you mentioned was TSatF.  I remember because I hadn't heard of them at the time.

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Offline Que

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #84 on: October 12, 2020, 12:11:30 PM »
It wasn't in the nature of a direct comparison, just that you responded negatively to my posting the Hilliard ensemble box of the Franco-Flemish composers. 



When I asked you for other recommendations, one group you mentioned was TSatF.  I remember because I hadn't heard of them at the time.

Yes, that image rings a belll... That was a while ago...

https://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,11592.msg1189329.html#msg1189329

No mention of TSATF.

Q

Offline Old San Antone

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #85 on: October 12, 2020, 12:21:28 PM »
I like it gritty, as in sung by real people, not angels. Which is also an effect of using a smaller number of voices in an more intimate acoustic. A personal preference and view I've come to after listening to this music for 40 years. Which doesn't mean you have to agree. But after hearing this music sung by Singer Pur, Capella Pratensis, The Sound and Fury, Cinquecento etc the traditional English choral style just seems mostly dull to me in this strictly polyphonic music, beautiful, but lacking sentiment.  And it also blurs the sense of the polyphonic lines so important in this music.

It was The new erato responding in the same thread.

Anyway, what I got out of it was a number of vocal groups I have come to enjoy besides the Hilliard Ensemble and am grateful for the exchange.

Offline Que

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #86 on: October 13, 2020, 12:05:24 AM »
Good to hear.  :)

And to further the discussion, here my first impressions on a recent run of the Ockeghem masses by Beauty Farm:

Listening now:


Let me try an idea about the Missa Mi Mi, probably unfair, see what you think. They sing the mass as if it’s dramatic music, not as if it’s spiritual music. Rebecca Stewart once said that it’s impossible to sing a mass in a shopping mall, the ambience wouldn’t be conducive to the right sort of rapport, the right sort of feeling. Well BF could do their stuff in shopping mall alright!


The two volumes of Ockeghem masses by Beauty Farm have the same style.
Though I'm not nearly as negative as Gio in his Amazon review, I definitely understand his remark about "brusque" style and "little unity in affect". I also get Mandryka 's comments. The approach is highly individualised, "dramatised" if you will, creating tension between the different voices vocally and emotionally. The result is definitely less reverential than we are used to in performances by the Ensemble Musica Nova, for instance. It does remind me of The Sound and the Fury, though to a to a lesser extent and technically (much) more accomplished.

Personally, I think it's interesting, pretty even, but it doesn't pull me in emotionally.
The music feels "objectified" and individualised, which is basically a very contemporary way of approaching this music.

Q

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #87 on: October 13, 2020, 11:19:35 PM »
I only know four vocal recordings of J’en ai deuil (that’s modern spelling) - Cut Circle and Ensemble Gilles Binchois (in the collection called Chansons Françaises de la Renaissance) are both a cappella, and Philippe Malfeyrt and Medieval Ensemble of London, who both accompany with instruments, rather tastefully. Gilles Binchois the slowest and for that reason gives the impression of being particularly sensitive to the text. Cut Circle seems the most dramatic, madrigalesque almost.  All are not without interest, my preference is for Ensemble Giles Binchois and Medieval Ensemble of London, the latter especially. There’s a simplicity about what Medieval Ensemble of London do, there’s lots of space and air in the texture, and the give me the impression of great authenticity.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2020, 11:28:03 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #88 on: September 15, 2021, 08:35:31 AM »
TTT w/ some bio information, discography, etc. - Ockeghem's date of birth is usually given as c. 1410, although 1425 is sometimes quoted; he died in 1497, so virtually spanned the entire 15th century, the latter half being the earlier part of the Renaissance - he was born in what is now Belgium and was a Franco-Flemish composer of fame (bio quoted below).  His surviving music output is not large, listed HERE, just over a dozen masses and some motets and chansons. However, his discography is rather extensive (although much is likely OOP) - just updated in Aug 2021 HERE.

My collection is small (shown below) and includes mainly the masses and a handful of motets; with a couple of versions of the Requiem Mass; so just wondering about newer/better versions of the masses and whether I might want more of the motets and chansons?  Comments and suggestions appreciated.  Dave :)

Quote
Johannes Ockeghem, composer of sacred and secular music, one of the great masters of the Franco-Flemish style that dominated European music of the Renaissance. His earliest recorded appointment was as a singer at Antwerp Cathedral (1443–44). He served similarly in the chapel of Charles, Duke de Bourbon (1446–48), and later in the royal chapel. He was chaplain and composer to three successive French kings, Charles VII, Louis XI, and Charles VIII. As treasurer of the Abbey of Saint-Martin at Tours, he received a handsome salary. Like many of his Flemish contemporaries he traveled widely and used his visits to distant cities to extend his musical knowledge. As a teacher he had great influence on the following generation of composers. His death was mourned in writing by Erasmus, whose text was set to music by Johannes Lupi; a Déploration by Molinet was set by Josquin des Prez.

Ockeghem’s surviving works include 14 masses, 10 motets, and 20 chansons. His work sounds richer than that of his predecessors Guillaume Dufay and John Dunstable; during Ockeghem’s era the instrumentally supported vocal lines of earlier music were gradually modified for a sonorous choral harmony. The bass range in Ockeghem’s compositions extends lower than in his predecessors’ music, and the tenor and countertenor voices cross in and out of each other, creating a heavier texture. The long melodic lines of the different voices cadence in different places, so that a continuous flow of music results. Melodic imitation occurs here and there but is not prominent. His Missa prolationum and Missa cuiusvis toni are examples of his highly developed contrapuntal and canonic technique, but the strict device of canon, of which he was a master, is subtly used and is rarely apparent to the listener. He frequently used preexistent material as a device for musical unity.

Ockeghem’s ten motets include Marian texts, such as Ave Maria, Salve regina, and Alma redemptoris mater, and a complete setting of the responsory Gaude Maria. Unlike other composers of the early 15th century, he wrote his masses in a style more solemn than that of his secular music. They are normally in four parts (two are in five parts), in contrast to the three parts commonly used in chansons. The melodic lines in the masses are longer than those of the chansons. Melodic imitation is more frequent in the chansons, and the rhythms of the chansons are more straightforward than those of the masses. (Source, edited)

 

   

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #89 on: September 15, 2021, 09:05:47 AM »
Obviously I can’t say whether the versions are “better”, but I can say that you should listen to Ensemble Numisdo’s L’Homme Armé and L’ultima Parola’s Missa Prolationem and Capella Pratensis’s Missa MiMi. I’d also be interested to know what you think of the Missa Caput from Graindelavoix, and some people love the Ockeghem recordings from Beauty Farm (I can’t remember what I think of them!)

There has been a lot of interest in Ockeghem’s songs recently, and you should certainly see what you think about the new recordings from Cut Circle and from Blue Heron. I personally am very fond of the old one from Medieval Ensemble of London. The songs are good!

Why not go off the tracks and get yourself a good anthology CD? That’s what I’d do if I were you - Ockeghem and Compère from La Main Harmonique comes to mind. I’m playing it now and I think it’s fabulous.  Or even The Leuven Chansonnier from Solazzo Ensemble, with a bit of Ock and other bits by anonymous and Binchois and the usual suspects.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2021, 09:13:21 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #90 on: September 15, 2021, 01:00:43 PM »
Obviously I can’t say whether the versions are “better”, but I can say that you should listen to Ensemble Numisdo’s L’Homme Armé and L’ultima Parola’s Missa Prolationem and Capella Pratensis’s Missa MiMi. I’d also be interested to know what you think of the Missa Caput from Graindelavoix, and some people love the Ockeghem recordings from Beauty Farm (I can’t remember what I think of them!)

There has been a lot of interest in Ockeghem’s songs recently, and you should certainly see what you think about the new recordings from Cut Circle and from Blue Heron. I personally am very fond of the old one from Medieval Ensemble of London. The songs are good!

Why not go off the tracks and get yourself a good anthology CD? That’s what I’d do if I were you - Ockeghem and Compère from La Main Harmonique comes to mind. I’m playing it now and I think it’s fabulous.  Or even The Leuven Chansonnier from Solazzo Ensemble, with a bit of Ock and other bits by anonymous and Binchois and the usual suspects.

Hi again Mandryka - are you and I the only ones interested in this music at the moment?   :laugh:

Thanks for all of the suggestions above - been reviewing the recordings on Amazon and also a lot available for a listen on Spotify.  Don't feel that I need a lot more of him, the Missa Prolationum is not in my collection, and several of the others might have 'better' recordings/reviews - there are a lot of song/motet recordings that could be considered; again I could setup another Spotify playlist - not sure I need to 'buy' this media in whatever form (CD, MP3, etc) vs. just playing a streaming playlist?  Just don't listen to this genre as much as in the past - well, I'll consider - again thanks for the help.

As to an 'anthology' or 'compilation' of multiple composers, usually not my 'bailiwick' - I'd rather have CDs filled w/ the same composer or maybe a few tracts w/ others, but a mix of a bunch is not what I like to own - these end up in a corner of my den storage and are forgotten (and their listing in my simplistic database is problematic, but just me).  Anthologies are probably nice for someone who may want just a half dozen or so discs to be representative of the entire period; for me I'd rather just pull the composer stack out for a listen.  Dave :)

Offline T. D.

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #91 on: September 15, 2021, 02:34:15 PM »
Hi again Mandryka - are you and I the only ones interested in this music at the moment?   :laugh:

Thanks for all of the suggestions above - been reviewing the recordings on Amazon and also a lot available for a listen on Spotify.  Don't feel that I need a lot more of him, the Missa Prolationum is not in my collection, and several of the others might have 'better' recordings/reviews - there are a lot of song/motet recordings that could be considered; again I could setup another Spotify playlist - not sure I need to 'buy' this media in whatever form (CD, MP3, etc) vs. just playing a streaming playlist?  Just don't listen to this genre as much as in the past - well, I'll consider - again thanks for the help.

As to an 'anthology' or 'compilation' of multiple composers, usually not my 'bailiwick' - I'd rather have CDs filled w/ the same composer or maybe a few tracts w/ others, but a mix of a bunch is not what I like to own - these end up in a corner of my den storage and are forgotten (and their listing in my simplistic database is problematic, but just me).  Anthologies are probably nice for someone who may want just a half dozen or so discs to be representative of the entire period; for me I'd rather just pull the composer stack out for a listen.  Dave :)

I'm not expert enough to suggest any specific Ockeghem recordings, but recommendable anthologies exist.
I also generally avoid anthologies/compilations, but very much enjoy this one:



Works by individual composers are mostly grouped, for instance disc 4 of the set is all Ockeghem.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2021, 02:38:36 PM by T. D. »

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #92 on: September 15, 2021, 11:37:05 PM »
I'm not expert enough to suggest any specific Ockeghem recordings, but recommendable anthologies exist.
I also generally avoid anthologies/compilations, but very much enjoy this one:



Works by individual composers are mostly grouped, for instance disc 4 of the set is all Ockeghem.

I’m not so keen on the songs by the group called Romanesque
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #93 on: September 15, 2021, 11:43:55 PM »
I only know four vocal recordings of J’en ai deuil (that’s modern spelling) - Cut Circle and Ensemble Gilles Binchois (in the collection called Chansons Françaises de la Renaissance) are both a cappella, and Philippe Malfeyrt and Medieval Ensemble of London, who both accompany with instruments, rather tastefully. Gilles Binchois the slowest and for that reason gives the impression of being particularly sensitive to the text. Cut Circle seems the most dramatic, madrigalesque almost.  All are not without interest, my preference is for Ensemble Giles Binchois and Medieval Ensemble of London, the latter especially. There’s a simplicity about what Medieval Ensemble of London do, there’s lots of space and air in the texture, and the give me the impression of great authenticity.

I just want to repeat this. Reviewing the three large collections of songs makes me feel very positive about the old one from Medieval Ensemble of London, for the reasons cited. As everyone here knows, these things are very personal, particularly where voice is involved.
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Offline aukhawk

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #94 on: September 16, 2021, 01:56:56 AM »
As already mentioined by Mandryka - my suggestion would be the Missa L'homme armé by Ensemble Nusmido.  It's available (rather expensively) from the usual outlets and on Spotify.  I will admit though that a large part of the attractiveness of this for me is the inclusion of a most unusual instrumental interlude lasting about 11 minutes (not by Ockeghem), inserted between the Credo and Sanctus.  Ultimate chill-out music!
If I could only have two early music recordings this would be one of them.


Ockeghem, Missa L'homme armé, Ensemble Nusmido
« Last Edit: September 16, 2021, 02:05:53 AM by aukhawk »

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #95 on: September 16, 2021, 08:05:02 AM »
As already mentioined by Mandryka - my suggestion would be the Missa L'homme armé by Ensemble Nusmido.  It's available (rather expensively) from the usual outlets and on Spotify.  I will admit though that a large part of the attractiveness of this for me is the inclusion of a most unusual instrumental interlude lasting about 11 minutes (not by Ockeghem), inserted between the Credo and Sanctus.  Ultimate chill-out music!
If I could only have two early music recordings this would be one of them.

 
Ockeghem, Missa L'homme armé, Ensemble Nusmido

Thanks Guys for the suggestions - unfortunately many are not available as physical discs (or at reasonable cost - Mandryka's Medieval Ensemble of London can be bought for $60 used on Amazon, and is not on Spotify); and even Spotify can be 'spotty' w/ the early music -  ;) 8)

However, I did set up the recordings inserted above as a playlist - despite the comments, 'Cut Circle' which seems to cover the songs on two discs has received some decent reviews; plus have not heard 'Missa Prolationum', so put on a couple of recordings on the list - thanks again.  Dave :)

Offline Que

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #96 on: September 16, 2021, 10:00:46 AM »
TTT w/ some bio information, discography, etc. - Ockeghem's date of birth is usually given as c. 1410, although 1425 is sometimes quoted; he died in 1497, so virtually spanned the entire 15th century, the latter half being the earlier part of the Renaissance - he was born in what is now Belgium and was a Franco-Flemish composer of fame (bio quoted below).  His surviving music output is not large, listed HERE, just over a dozen masses and some motets and chansons. However, his discography is rather extensive (although much is likely OOP) - just updated in Aug 2021 HERE.

My collection is small (shown below) and includes mainly the masses and a handful of motets; with a couple of versions of the Requiem Mass; so just wondering about newer/better versions of the masses and whether I might want more of the motets and chansons?  Comments and suggestions appreciated.  Dave :)

Hi Dave, my two cents... I like Ockeghem very much, and maybe that's why I have a hard time getting the recordings I like.

There is no need to discuss UK ensembles in this repertoire, since you seem to have covered those (not my "cup of tea").

I tried and failed to like the recordings of several masses by The Sound and The Fury (TSTF) and Beauty Farm (see discussions further up this thread). If you like smooth and mellow, Ensemble Nusmido might be for you (but not for me). Rebecca Stewart with the Cappella Pratensis in the Missa MiMi is a display of very particular ideas, and lots of them. An experiment is applying different influences and styles that does not work for me.

The recent recording of the Missa Prolationum by L'Ultima Parola as mentioned by Mandryka  - yes, definitely. All singers have served in the Huelgas Ensemble with Van Nevel, and you can tell. A very promising new ensemble.
Also the the two recordings by the Ensemble Musica Nova with Lucien Kandel - quite purist and abstract. Perhaps an acquired taste, but it absolutely works for me - wonderful.

Cappella Pratensis, this time with Stratton Bull, also made a more recent recording of the Requiem. I liked it, but found it a bit dour.  A recent (unexpectedly) dissapointing recording by Diabolus in Musica made me appreciate the Cappella Pratensis recording more. An old personal favourite is with the Ensemble Organum.

For the songs it clear to me that the Cut Circle missed the mark, and that Blue Heron (hard to find, expensive) (clearly) wins the day. BTW the Capilla Flamenca did a gorgeous recordings of Flemish songs (of various composers).

The line up:

   



   

   


« Last Edit: September 16, 2021, 10:04:46 AM by Que »

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #97 on: September 16, 2021, 11:07:55 AM »
All you can do is suck everything and see.
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Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #98 on: September 16, 2021, 12:49:09 PM »
Hi Dave, my two cents... I like Ockeghem very much, and maybe that's why I have a hard time getting the recordings I like.

There is no need to discuss UK ensembles in this repertoire, since you seem to have covered those (not my "cup of tea").

I tried and failed to like the recordings of several masses by The Sound and The Fury (TSTF) and Beauty Farm (see discussions further up this thread). If you like smooth and mellow, Ensemble Nusmido might be for you (but not for me). Rebecca Stewart with the Cappella Pratensis in the Missa MiMi is a display of very particular ideas, and lots of them. An experiment is applying different influences and styles that does not work for me.

The recent recording of the Missa Prolationum by L'Ultima Parola as mentioned by Mandryka  - yes, definitely. All singers have served in the Huelgas Ensemble with Van Nevel, and you can tell. A very promising new ensemble.
Also the the two recordings by the Ensemble Musica Nova with Lucien Kandel - quite purist and abstract. Perhaps an acquired taste, but it absolutely works for me - wonderful.

Cappella Pratensis, this time with Stratton Bull, also made a more recent recording of the Requiem. I liked it, but found it a bit dour.  A recent (unexpectedly) dissapointing recording by Diabolus in Musica made me appreciate the Cappella Pratensis recording more. An old personal favourite is with the Ensemble Organum.

For the songs it clear to me that the Cut Circle missed the mark, and that Blue Heron (hard to find, expensive) (clearly) wins the day. BTW the Capilla Flamenca did a gorgeous recordings of Flemish songs (of various composers).

The line up:

   

   

Hi Que - thanks for the great comments above and all of the artwork!  8)  I'm planning to listen to the Spotify playlist made which includes a number of the recommendations in recent posts - also need to look at availability (and COST!) of these discs - I certainly have no need to replace most of what I have now, but if I can add a few and/or replace a number of the masses at reasonable price, then will be pleased.  Dave :)

Offline Que

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Re: Ockeghem's Office
« Reply #99 on: September 16, 2021, 01:56:44 PM »
All you can do is suck everything and see.

Usually the only way that works.  :D