Diabolus in Musica Releases PLORER, GEMIR, CRIER... Recording of Johannes Ockeghem's Works

Related: Plorer, Gemir, Johannes Ockeghem, Diabolus in Musica, Antoine Guerber

From France's Diabolus in Musica and Antoine Guerber comes this fascinating new release featuring the emotional and rarely-heard music by the contemporaries (or near contemporaries) of the Master of Tours, Johannes Ockeghem. The composer's death at a ripe old age in 1497 greatly affected the brilliant generation that was in the process of making the transition between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, leading to the creation of some deeply moving music. The new recording from the Aeon label is now available from Allegro Classical.

The five composers featured on the recording all visited Ockeghem personally and helped to popularize his image as a benevolent "father figure" to an amazing caste of singers and composers. The works featured in this touching tribute include four motets, a complete polyphonic mass, and an extraordinary poem of lamentation, representing the high point of Franco-Flemish counterpoint. The 10-person ensemble sings according to the tradition of the great cathedrals and churches: a cappella, with one or two singers to a part.

The title work is Pierre de La Rue's very emotional and personal Plorer, gemir, crier: Requiem, in the motet-chanson form, as is Josquin Desprez's celebrated Nymphes des bois: Requiem. Johannes Lupus, of whom is known very little, likely wrote the more conventional motet Ergone conticuit, its text a eulogy by Erasmus, more than twenty years after Ockeghem's death. The great Flemish composer Jacob Obrecht wrote a whole mass which appears to be a majestic tribute to Ockeghem-and which definitely quotes his elder's own works-the Missa Sicut Rosa, Spinam. Finally, Antoine Busnoys' In hydraulis is a spectacular poetic and musical tribute to Ockeghem, with whom he worked and sang at St. Martin de Tours.

Diabolus in Musica, founded by Antoine Guerber is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. The ensemble devotes itself to the study and interpretation of the full range of medieval music, with a particular predilection for 12th and 13th-Century France. At the cutting edge of musical and historical research, the ensemble works directly from manuscript sources and focuses on unpublished works and repertoires, combined with innovative and multi-media concert performances. Diabolus in Musica has appeared at the most prestigious festivals and venues in France and beyond. Their acclaimed recordings have won many awards including, twice, the Diapason d'Or of the year.

For more information, visit www.diabolusinmusica.fr.

More On: Plorer, Gemir, Johannes Ockeghem, Diabolus in Musica, Antoine Guerber

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by Peter Danish