Antoine de Févin

Antoine de Févin
Missa Ave Maria & Missa Salve sancta parens
The Brabant Ensemble, Stephen Rice
Hyperion CDA68265. 79’14

Missa Ave Maria, Ascendens Christus in altum, Sancta Trinitas a5/a6,
Salve sancta parens, Missa Salve sancta parens,

Antoine de Févin (c1470-1511/12) is a relatively unknown composer of the Renaissance Franco-Flemish period He was born around 20 years after Josquin des Prez, but died about 10 years before him. For the past few years of his life, he worked in the Chapelle Royale of Louis XII of France, who apparently thought highly several chansons. His compositional style is similar to Josquin’s, who he admired. The opening Missa Ave Maria is based on Josquin’s well-known Ave Maria. His contrapuntal writing is not as strict as some of his Renaissance contemporaries. He clearly enjoys contrasting homophonic and contrapuntal passages and freely switches from one to the other. There are several magical moments, one of the finest between the Agnus II of the Missa Ave Maria where two outstanding high voices (Kate Ashby and Claire Eadington) weaves threads between themselves. Continue reading

Mater Inviolata

Mater Inviolata
European music for the Christ-Child and His Mother
The Brabant Ensemble, Stephen Rice
St John’s, Smith Square, 11 December 2018

The 33rd St John’s, Smith Square Christmas Festival has taken a slightly more eclectic approach to the traditional seasonal offerings, although its roots in early music remain, as exemplified by this concert by The Brabant Ensemble, directed by Stephen Rice. Their programme focussed on Mary, the focus for devotion in the late Renaissance era. The geographical focus was, as the group’s name suggests, the old Duchy of Brabant, covering present-day parts of Belgium and the Netherlands. The Franco-Flemish composers included Josquin, Lassus, and Josquin’s contemporary Pierre de la Rue in the 500th year of his death together with the latter composers, Clemens non Papa, Crecquillon, and Mouton, with his well-known Nesciens mater. Continue reading

Jacquet of Mantua – Missa Surge Petre & motets

Jacquet of Mantua – Missa Surge Petre & motets
The Brabant Ensemble, Stephen Rice (conductor)
Hyperion CDA68088.  76’39

Surge Petre, Missa Surge Petre, Ave Maria a 3, O vos omnes, In illo tempore … Non turbetur, O pulcherrima inter mulieres, Domine, non secundum peccata nostra.

You would be forgiven for not having heard of the Renaissance composer, Jacquet of Mantua (1483-1559), and can blame the oddities of personal names at the time. He was known by a variety of names in his day, including Jachet de Mantoue, Iachet da Mantova, Iachetus Gallicus, Jacques Colebault or Collebaudi, but usually simply as Iachet (= Jack). He has also been confused with other composers, particularly Jacquet de Berchem. Born in Brittany in 1483, Jacquet of Mantua moved to Italy sometime before 1520, finally settling at the Gonzaga court in Mantua around 1527, following a year in Ferrara Continue reading