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Gombert, Nicolas : Motets
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Description du produit
Nicolas Gombert (1495-1560) : Ave mater matris Dei, Ave salus mundi, Benedicta es, Descendi in hortum meum, Domine, non secundum peccata, Emendemus in melius, O Beata Maria, O Crux, splendidior, O Domina Mundi, O Flos campi, O Jesu Christe, Peccata mea, Salve regina, Sancta et immaculata, Sancta Maria mater Dei, Si bona suscepimus, Si ignoras te, Tribulatio cordis mei, Veni dilecta me
Toutes les compositions de Gombert sont vocales, et certaines sont pour des ensembles jusqu'à douze parties. Son langage contrapuntique est basé sur celui de Josquin, mais pris à un niveau un peu supérieur de complexité. Les textures vocales de Gombert sont souvent denses et les lignes individuelles sont caractérisées par un évitement des silences. Un nombre important des compositions de Gombert nous sont parvenues, y compris dix messes, plus de 160 motets, 60 chansons profanes, et un ensemble de huit magnificat (un dans chaque mode). Les motets sur cet enregistrement, pour 4-6 voix, sont de fines représentations du style musical de Gombert.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com
I like the editions that Beauty Farm use. Mostly you notice that finally there are leading tones where phrases cadence, not just in the top voice on occasion or something. There are also dissonances from false relations. I wish I had the expertise to analyse these editions further with ease, so I'd have more to say. Overall, I'd make the observation that the singers appear to be mostly young people who seem to be interested in performing the music in keeping with new findings and understanding of musica ficta. They're not old people still stuck in the past with obsolete ideas about modal purity or something. I hope their forthcoming Ockeghem album is like this one in that respect, and hopefully they go on to record Josquin and Obrecht. Those composers could really benefit from Beauty Farm treatment.
I like the sound quality of the recording a lot. And the performances are beautiful one-voice-per-part, and benefit from being rather closely miked and excellently captured. You really hear the tone colour and beauty of the individual singers' voices.
That said, the bass often seems slightly distant. Not always, but I think the record company felt they had to conform to tradition somewhat and not make the bass as prominent as it could, or should, have been (Hermann Finck spoke of pipe organs as an ideal for vocal groups to strive toward - don't pipe organs have magnificent bass?). I don't know, but I think if reviewers are seeing the bass as being prominent rather than slightly distant, they're letting their evaluations be skewed by those moments when it's louder (certainly in the minority). If you want to know what a prominent bass sounds like, listen to "Ergo ne vitae" from the third Gombert album by The Sound and the Fury (which I'd highly recommend by the way).
I'm not sure I've yet heard a performance of a 5-voice or 6-voice Gombert motet where the singers balanced the parts successfully. I'm not even sure what the ideal way to perform Gombert would be. Pipe-organ like balance? Or different lines somewhat highlighted at different times? Which is what almost everyone seems to be doing to some extent, and that's probably a good thing for those who find these pieces difficult to follow. What's not a good thing is that sometimes some voice is just too soft to be heard properly/at all. From this album, an example would be the middle voice at bar nine from "Sancta et immaculata", at around 0:25. It's practically completely drowned out by the lack of balance between the voices, nearly impossible to hear EVEN if you know it's there. A shame, since it's a beautiful little phrase.
Anyway, the bottom-line about the performance & recording is there's nothing much that can compete with this album, as far as Gombert goes.
As for the music itself, it's mostly dark, it's mostly beautiful, and it's mostly very complex, and not really like anything else I've heard. It can often sound oddly dissonant to ears adjusted to Palestrina and post-Palestrina counterpoint. I think Gombert managed to compose these wonderfully complex, dark pieces partly because he didn't have to worry about modern counterpoint rules. I think he also just relished dissonance. And complex they are, let me say that one more time. I'm not quite sure you're supposed to be able to follow this music properly, but I enjoy trying.
A few great motets missing from this double-CD album: "Media vita", "Lugebat David Absalon", "Ergo ne vitae". There was room for a few more on these two discs. Hopefully Beauty Farm is planning another Gombert album, and was saving some motets for that.
(By the way, does anyone else notice occasional noise from the sound breaking in "Peccata mea" (and a couple of other tracks)? It's the kind of noise that you sometimes hear in recordings when the mikes were too sensitive, or you could say received too much volume. I wonder if that's what it is, or if it's a fault in my discs.)
The quality of their vocal balance and texture is immediately evident from the opening 5-voice 'Veni dilecta mea' (CD1/1), with low voices prominent and sounding wonderful. Those listeners who often complain about high-voice dominance in such music will find little to criticise here, apart from occasional unsteady notes in the upper and middle voices. As for the music, nineteen little-known but marvellous motets by one of the truly great composers of the renaissance, it is stunning. 'Tribulatio cordis mei' (1/2) exemplifies one of Gombert's specialities of startlingly expressive dissonance. 'Si bona suscepimus' (1/4) is typical of the rich complexity of Gombert's six-voice polyphony – not declamatory like Josquin, but rather an intense, continuous texture in which no one voice is allowed to dominate the densely-woven counterpoint. 'Sancta Maria mater Dei' (1/6) is just as beautiful, this time with four voices demonstrating the same qualities.
Among the highlights of the second disc is the six-voice 'Benedicta es caelorum regina' (2/3). I usually consider that no other setting of this Marian text could possibly match that of 'Josquinus incomparabilis' – but I have to admit that Gombert comes pretty close. The younger composer demonstrates that he both knows and reveres his predecessor's work, with a setting in the spirit of Josquin but very much in the style created by Gombert himself in its mesmerising, closely woven textures. And, like Josquin but differently, he creates an unforgettable cadence half-way through at the words 'Ave, gratia plena'. This is simply a magnificent work. My other favourites in the set include an absolutely beautiful 'Descendi in hortum meum' (2/6), and the closing 'Emendemus in melius' showing just why the composer was referred to as 'Profundo Gomberto'.
Altogether, this ensemble do a wonderful job of penetrating for us the seemingly almost impenetrable, unremitting textures of the master's work. Moreover, they sing with insight and commitment and I think they come closer here to encapsulating the spirit of Gombert's adventurous, and indeed revolutionary, music than almost any other ensemble I've heard. The recorded sound is excellent in its presence, clarity and ambience. Booklet notes are a bit on the brief side, and we are given all the Latin texts but no translations; I suppose that's better than nothing. Gombert was already one of my favourite composers, but my appreciation of his beautifully complex work has been further enhanced by this recording.
I hope we'll hear plenty more from Beauty Farm, especially if they change their awful name. In this case I've a feeling that practicality should take precedence over pretentiousness. Capella Gomberto? Franco-Flemish Solutions? Any other suggestions, anyone? Some association with music would be ideal but anything will do, just as long as it doesn’t sound like a rural health and cosmetic surgery clinic for ladies of a certain age – or, worse still, the title of a TV series set in such a place. When I posted this review on Amazon UK, I got a whole lot of rather facetious suggestions from readers and even added a couple more of my own – but I’m confident this won’t happen here on US Amazon, because you folks are much too sensible and, in any case, humour is not permitted on these discussion pages.
Above all, though, please don't even think of being put off this exceptionally valuable contribution to the renaissance discography.