La Rue: Missa de Feria / Missa Sancta Dei Genitrix

La Rue: Missa de Feria / Missa Sancta Dei Genitrix
Gothic Voices - Christopher Page
Hyperion 67010

These are two of La Rue's more interesting technical masses, the canonic Missa de Feria & the late ostinato-derived Missa Sancta Dei Genitrix. Each is significant in his output in its own way. The grand motet is also worthwhile, although I've never thought much of the lute arrangements.

I particularly enjoyed this recording when it appeared, in part because the basic sound of the ensemble was so different for this music, based as it was in their work with older music. At the time, I thought they might work more with music of this era, but that never really happened, and this recording remains something of a sphynx. The basic vocal sound, though, was much more crisp than the sort of hazy, dreamy renditions that were the norm.

At the time, also, La Rue's discography was nowhere near as advanced as it is now, in particular with some appealing & very experienced interpretations becoming available. In this case, although I still generally enjoy how the singers articulate, the interpretation is a mess overall. Tempi are a mess in general, and it seems that the singers often become confused in the middle of an extended section. There are a lot of technical problems, and it often seems like they're just winging it....

So that becomes an issue for continued enjoyment, and in many ways, also shows how far we've come. The two masses do continue to have appeal, however, so this recording remains.

To renaissance sacred list

Todd M. McComb
Updated: 27 November 2016