Ockeghem: Missa L'homme armé / Missa Quinti toni

Ockeghem Masses
Missa L'homme armé / Missa Quinti toni
Beauty Farm
Fra Bernardo 1701743

It was Ensemble Nusmido that really "made" Ockeghem's Missa L'homme armé for me. It's one of his earliest cycles (although there is still some disagreement on that point), and of course relates to the broader tradition of L'homme armé masses during the era (of which it might also be one of the earliest). It had never been a favorite, but they made it compelling. Here it's even more compelling, with similar expansive phrasing, but more energy.

The Missa Quinti toni has not been tackled nearly as often, and it's a later work that I had mostly appreciated in the relatively dated Schola Discantus interpretation. An update is welcome, and here we hear almost a discursive style to this 3-part setting.

Both of those earlier albums meant something to me, but I'm ultimately finding the more appealing performances to be those on this album. They're quite clear & lively, and continue to grow in my estimation. This is still perhaps the most straightforward & easy to enjoy album in the section....

Although it eerily (almost) reprises The Sound and the Fury's third album — after (also) opening with two devoted to Gombert — this Ockeghem disc shows the new "Beauty Farm" ensemble to be not only continuing the tradition of excellent interpretations from Austria, but bringing them to another level. This is an increasingly convincing program & remains easy to recommend.

To renaissance sacred list

Todd M. McComb
Updated: 8 January 2020