Flemish Masters = HEINRICH ISAAC: Missa De Apostolis; JOHANNES OCKEGHEM: Missa Au travail suis; ORLANDUS LASSUS: Missa Osculetur me; CIPRIANAO DE RORE: Missa Praeter rerum seriem; ANTOINE BRUMEL: Missa Et ecce terrae motus – The Tallis Scholars – Gimell 211 (2 CDs), 149:24 **** [Distr. by Harmonia mundi]:
This is a retread package from 1989 (Lassus) to Ockeghem (1997), so check your catalog carefully if you are a Tallis Scholars collector or fan. If not, or you are just coming to this legendary group, this is as good a place to begin as any, maybe even better. The music here is not your everyday run-of-the-mill Renaissance mass production, but a selection of the Flemish masters that emphasizes increasingly complex polyphonic structures over a period of about 100 years, culminating in the wondrous “Earthquake Mass” of Brumel, so-called because the work uses the plainchant Antiphon from Lauds for Easter which includes the section from St. Matthew’s Gospel referring to the veil of the temple being rent and the earth quaking. It is an astonishing work—twelve parts almost all the way through its 47 minutes, the pinnacle of Brumel’s art and a definite high point of the Renaissance.
The rest of the works are no less deserving of your attention, as the Flemish school in many ways defined this period of sacred music. I am still quite impressed with the absolute clarity of Gimell’s sound after all these years, the vibrancy of the choir coming across with stunning impact. Definitely worth a purchase, if, as I said, you don’t have them already.
— Steven Ritter