Josquin: Missa Ave maris stella

Josquin: Missa Ave maris stella
Celebrating the Annunciation in Renaissance Rome
Cappella Pratensis - Stratton Bull
Challenge Classics 72632

It's with pleasure that I add a different set of interpreters to this section, and indeed I probably should have found a way to honor them sooner.

Their extensive work with plainchant shows, especially in the handling of the rhythmic character & proportions of the polyphony. The strength of the interpretation is here, leading to a very coherent overall formal articulation.

The syllabic articulation is not terribly clear, however, due to a fuzzy resonant overall sound, so I still consider that to be a weakness. However, the variety on this point, especially as compared to the English ensembles (who often have their own kind of "fuzziness" in this very area), is welcome enough.

That caveat aside, this is one of the more convincing Josquin interpetations of the moment, not coincidentally treating one of his most straightforward masses. The added motets and other liturgical framing, particularly the items with different verses using polyphony by different composers, are also worthwhile. Cappella Pratensis manages to make these different styles sound very different, so that is perhaps their most impressive trait.

To renaissance sacred list

Todd M. McComb
Updated: 30 May 2014