Josquin: Missa Pange Lingua

Josquin: Missa Pange Lingua
Kammerchor Josquin des Préz - Ludwig Böhme
Carus 83.345

The Missa Pange Lingua is considered to be one of Josquin's last great masterpieces. It is based throughout on imitative writing, instead of a cantus firmus approach, and heralds the later developments of the sixteenth century. Although my taste largely runs to earlier counterpoint, the mass certainly presents something of a summation of Josquin's style and ability to structure large-scale forms.

Here it receives an excellent rendition by this relatively large group of singers. There are a few points where some filigree passages might be a little unclear, but overall, the clarity is superb, both in terms of individual textures and the structure of extended passages. This group has good command of the music. My one real complaint is the use of ritardando effects at times, a practice I dislike when it's not reflected in time signature changes.

The program also contains some other worthwhile items. The two large-scale motets, O virgo virginum (which is apparently popular to record in Germany, and nowhere else) and Ave nobilissima creatura are also given excellent performances. The two canons of questionable attribution are also interesting, with the other short items included more as filler.

To renaissance sacred list

Todd M. McComb