Cappella Pratensis / Stratton Bull

Missa Ave maris stella

Price: € 20.95
Format: SACD
Label: Challenge Classics
UPC: 0608917263220
Catnr: CC 72632
Release date: 17 February 2014
✓ in stock
€ 20.95
Challenge Classics
Catalogue number
CC 72632
Release date
17 February 2014

"The sound pattern is very clear and the style of singing fluent, with a perfect legato and a brilliant mixture of voices. Since the acoustic is also approriate, this CD be called successfull by any account."

Toccata, 10-11-2014

About the album

The music of Josquin Desprez is performed, recorded, and studied more than that of any other composer of the Renaissance. Although his numerous Masses and motets are now more than 500 years old, they have entered our modern musical museum of masterpieces, heard in concerts and on recordings as independent works of art. Through superlative craft and sublime beauty, this music transcends its time and place, and its original function as sacred music.

But just as a stunning Renaissance altarpiece becomes even more impressive and meaningful when restored to its original place in the sacred space it was made to adorn, so the sacred polyphony of the period gains in beauty and meaning when heard within the ritual framework it once enhanced. That ritual framework told sacred stories – of Christ, his mother, and the saints – primarily through plainsong and recitation. For special occasions, in institutions able to support highly trained singers, sacred polyphony added special lustre.

This recording aims to recapture a sense of the ceremonial context that would have surrounded Josquin’s sacred polyphony in a place where he sang and composed and where his music continued in use long after he left. That ritual context is the Saturday Mass for the Blessed Virgin during Advent, a liturgy focused on the Annunciation story; that place is the Sistine Chapel in Rome.
The Missa Ave maris stella was copied into a Vatican choirbook for the use of the papal singers no later than 1507.

In order to approach closer to the original performance practices of the papal chapel, Cappella Pratensis here sings whenever possible from scale copies of the very books used by the papal chapel, reading from the square notation of the chant sources and the mensural notation of the polyphonic manuscripts. Like the papal singers, they gather around one large music stand, led not by a conductor standing before the group but rather by the maestro di cappella who sings in their midst. Here, as then, the ensemble is all male, with adult falsettists singing superius and altus lines (there were no boys in the papal chapel), and the number of singers is small, here just two to a part, with duo and trio sections taken by solo voices. In light of the fact that most papal singers in this period were native French-speakers, the Latin of Josquin’s polyphony as well as the Proper plainsongs is sung with a French accent;
the celebrant’s recitations are pronounced with an Italian accent, imagining an Italian cleric presiding. Cappella Pratensis here approaches the chant as the expert papal singers trained in mensural notation likely did, responding to the mensural implications of the square notation.
Missa Ave maris stella in zijn oorspronkelijke ceremoniële context
De muziek van Josquin Desprez is vaker uitgevoerd, opgenomen en onderzocht dan die van welke andere componist uit de Renaissance dan ook. Zijn werken zijn opgenomen in het moderne museum van meesterwerken, ook al zijn ze meer dan 500 jaar oud. Door voortreffelijk vakmanschap en sublieme schoonheid overstijgt deze muziek zijn tijd en zijn functie als geestelijke muziek.

De schoonheid van geestelijke werken uit de Renaissance neemt toe als ze in hun rituele context worden uitgevoerd. De betekenis van deze werken wordt zo ook duidelijker. Het doel van deze opname is daarom het opnieuw vastleggen van de ceremoniële context van de geestelijke polyfonie van Josquin, op een plek waar hij zelf zong en componeerde.

Het werk dat op dit album wordt uitgevoerd is de Missa Ave maris stella. Het is gecomponeerd voor de zaterdagmis voor de Heilige Maagd tijdens Advent in de Sixtijnse kapel in Rome. De mis werd niet later dan 1507 opgeschreven in een koorboek van het Vaticaan, zodat het zangers van de Paus het konden uitvoeren. De delen van de mis worden afgewisseld met antifonen.

Cappella Pratensis – letterlijk Cappella des prés – is een Nederlands vocaal ensemble, dat pleit voor de muziek van Josquin en meerstemmige werken uit de 15e en 16e eeuw. Het ensemble combineert historische uitvoeringen met inventieve programma’s en originele interpretaties die gebaseerd zijn op wetenschappelijk onderzoek en artistiek inzicht. Cappella Pratensis treedt niet alleen op in concertzalen in Nederland en België, maar ook op belangrijke internationale festivals en concertreeksen in Europa, Noord-Amerika en Japan.
Historisch orientierte Aufführung der Missa Ave maris stella von Josquin Desprez mit dem nierderländischen Ensemble Cappella Pratensis.

Das in den Niederlanden ansässige Vokalensemble Cappella Pratensis setzt sich für die Musik von Josquin Desprez und seine Zeitgenossen des 15. und 16. Jahrhunderts ein.

Sie singen in ihrer neuesten Aufnahme Josquins „Missa Ave maris stella“, die 1507 in einem Vatikan- Chorbuch für die Verwendung der päpstlichen Sänger kopiert wurde.

Um so nah als möglich an der ursprünglichen Aufführungspraxis der päpstlichen Kapelle zu bleiben, singt Cappella Pratensis aus Kopien der Bücher, die in Quadratnotation der Gesangsquellen und der Mensuralnotation der polyphonen Handschriften notiert sind. Wie die päpstlichen Sänger sammeln sie sich um ein großes Notenpult und werden vom „maestro di cappella“ dirigiert, der in ihrer Mitte singt.

Die Teile der Messe von Josquin werden im Wechsel mit Antiphonen ergänzt.
«La musica di Josquin Desprez è eseguita, registrata e studiata più di quella di qualsiasi altro compositore del Rinascimento. Benché la sua ricca produzione di messe e mottetti abbia ora più di 500 anni, è entrata a far parte del nostro moderno museo di capolavori musicali, ascoltata in concerto e nelle registrazioni come fossero opere d’arte indipendenti. Attraverso la sua arte superlativa e la sua bellezza sublime, questa musica trascende il suo tempo e luogo d’origine, e la sua originale funzione di musica liturgica.

Ma come una stupenda pala d’altare del Rinascimento diventa ancora più emozionante ed espressiva quando è restituita al suo luogo d’origine, nello spazio sacro che doveva adornare, così la polifonia sacra del periodo guadagna in bellezza e significato quando è ascoltata all’interno della struttura rituale che un tempo decorava. Quella struttura rituale raccontava storie sacre – di Cristo, di sua madre, e dei santi – soprattutto attraverso il canto fermo e la recitazione. Per occasioni speciali, nelle istituzioni in grado di mantenere cantori altamente qualificati, la polifonia sacra aggiungeva un lustro particolare.

Questa registrazione mira a ricatturare il senso del contesto cerimoniale che avrebbe contornato la polifonia sacra di Josquin in un luogo in cui cantò e compose e in cui la sua musica restò in uso molto tempo dopo la sua partenza. Quella struttura rituale è la Messa per la Beata Vergine nel periodo dell’Avvento, una liturgia focalizzata sulla storia dell’Annunciazione; quel luogo è la Cappella Sistina a Roma.

La Missa Ave maris stella fu copiata in un libro corale vaticano per l’uso dei cantori papali non più tardi del 1507.»
M. Jennifer Bloxam, dalle note di copertina


The Dutch-based vocal ensemble Cappella Pratensis – literally ‘Cappella des prés - champions the music of Josquin Desprez and the polyphonists of the 15thand 16th centuries. The group combines historically informed performance practice with inventive programmes and original interpretations based on scholarly research and artistic insight. As in Josquin’s time, the members of Cappella Pratensis perform from a central music stand, singing from the original mensural notation scored in a large choirbook. This approach, together with attention to the linguistic origin of the compositions and the modal system on which it is based, offers a unique perspective on the repertoire. Founded in 1987, Cappella Pratensis is currently under the artistic direction of singer and conductor Stratton Bull
Besides regular appearances at concert venues in the Netherlands and Belgium, Cappella Pratensis has performed at leading international festivals and concert series throughout Europe, North America and Japan. From 2005 to 2007, the group was ensemble-in-residence at the Fondation Royaumont (France), where it gave courses, presented concerts and worked with distinguished musicians. Cappella Pratensis has also made a series of CD recordings that have met with critical acclaim and distinctions from the press (including the Diapason d’Or and the Prix Choc). In 2009 the ensemble released a DVD/CD production around the Missa de Sancto Donatiano by Jacob Obrecht, which included Missa de Sancto Donatiano a reconstruction of the first performance of the Mass, filmed on location in Bruges together with substantial documentary material. This production was crowned with a Diapason découverte and the highest rating from magazine Classica. The CD Vivat Leo! Music for a Medici Pope (2010), with guest conductor Joshua Rifkin, received a Diapason d’Or, while the following CD (2012) features two of the oldest polyphonic settings of the Requiem, by Johannes Ockeghem and Pierre de la Rue. In February 2014 the latest CD was released; a recording of music in celebration of the Annunciation, drawn from Vatican sources and featuring Josquin Desprez’s masterpiece Missa Ave maris stella.
Cappella Pratensis also passes on insights into vocal polyphony and performance from original notation – both among professionals and amateurs – through masterclasses, multi-media presentations, collaboration with institutions, an annual summer course as part of the Laus Polyphoniae festival in Antwerp, and training young singers within the group itself. The ensemble is a partner with the Universities of Leuven and Oxford in the digitization and valorisation of all the brilliant musical sources made in the workshops of Petrus Alamire.



The sound pattern is very clear and the style of singing fluent, with a perfect legato and a brilliant mixture of voices. Since the acoustic is also approriate, this CD be called successfull by any account.
Toccata, 10-11-2014

(...) the textures are in general exceptionally clear and (...) the lines are beautifully relaxed.
Gramophone, 01-8-2014

The liveliness of acoustic and tonal beauty of both recordings and performance from the eight male voices pf Cappella Pratensis, celebrating the Annunciation in renaissance Rome with the Missa Ave maris stella by Josquin in liturgical format with plainsong Propers, is a pukka piece of aural time-travel. Their Franco-Italian pronunciation, evoking the papal choir of Josquin's time, is particularly piquant.
Choir & Organ, 31-7-2014

4 1/2 stars
Fono Forum, 01-6-2014

Avocal textured, warm blanket that fully suits the Annunciation. The eight voices are impressive depicted in the church hall.
Opus Klassiek, 19-5-2014

The end result is ensemble singing of the highest order.
De Gelderlander, 10-3-2014

The voices are never in each others way and they seem to float in the space
Katholiek Nieuwsblad, 07-3-2014

"Balanced sonority"
Volskrant, 05-3-2014

On this album Cappella Pratensis is at her best: flawless beauty of sound linked to a faithful interpretation of old scores.
Brabants dagblad , 20-2-2014

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