La Rue: Canonic Masses

La Rue: Paradise regained
Missa "Ave sanctissima Maria" / Missa "O salutaris Hostia"
The Sound and the Fury
ORF 3094

This is some of La Rue's most interesting & technical music. Although the Missa Ave sanctissima Maria is a little more famous and overtly impressive in six parts, having had an extract recorded by David Munrow, the Missa O salutaris Hostia turns out to be an absolutely stunning piece of music. Finally having the chance to really sit down and listen to it thoroughly and follow what was going on, I found myself literally saying "wow" at times. It's quite a monument to canonic writing, with four parts developing out of a single written part. (The Missa Ave sanctissima Maria is also canonic, with three written parts.)

The performances are solid, although not all parts can be heard clearly at all times especially in the larger sections. However, the approach is technically sound, there is a good energy here, and more than enough fluency & detail to let some amazing music shine.

This recording can certainly be said to be a landmark recording of La Rue's music, and hopefully others will follow. (With so many excellent recordings following it, this disc starts to seem a bit dated, but it was revelatory at the time.) It was named my EM Record of the Year for 2010.

To renaissance sacred list

Todd M. McComb
Updated: 7 November 2017