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The vocal sextet Cinquecento are rapidly becoming one of the most admired early music ensembles recording today. The lithe, clear yet rich and warm tones of the six singers are ideal for the complex polyphony from the 16th-century Hapsburg court which they have made their speciality.
This latest release presents the music of Jacobus Vaet, repertoire they began to explore in their first disc for Hyperion (Music at the Court of Maximilian II CDA67579). Vaet would undoubtedly be among the best-known composers of the sixteenth century had he not died at the age of about thirty-seven. In his short career Vaet produced, among other things, nine settings of the mass, and his Missa Ego flos campi, a parody Mass on an extraordinary motet by Clemens non Papa (which also appears on the disc), is a notable example of his particular artistry. A fascinating selection of motets demonstrates the composer’s vivid approach to word-setting and imaginative choice of texts.
“…these are really good singers, and when the construction of the music invites them to unwind (as in the wonderful Spiritus Domini) we are treated to a delicious feast of harmonic tension and inwardly-sensed architecture.”
“Cinquecento's one-to-a-part approach, with countertenors on the top lines, is ideally suited to this repertory and really works wonders. At first they give the impression of remaining within the same broad dynamic range… But at telling moments they modulate their delivery to considerable expressive effect... This highly accomplished singing does not draw attention to itself... but focuses attention squarely on the composer.”
29th March 2009
“The key work is Missa ego flos campi, a parody of a Jacobus Clemens non Papa seven-voice motet in which the composer explores textural variation to telling effect. Elsewhere, a choice selection of motets illustrates Vaet’s gift for moving and poetic word-setting.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.