Saturday, 24 November 2007

11. Nicolas Gombert - Motets (1530-1550)


Title: Gombert, Eight-Part Credo - Media Vita - Haec Dies - Vae, Vae, Babylon - Salve Regina 'Diversi Diversa Orant' - Lugebat David Absalon and other motets.
Performer: Henry's Eight
Director: Jonathan Brown
Year: 1996
Length: 1 hour 10 minutes


I could honestly start listening to something else other than motets or associated polyphonic church music at the moment, but no such luck for your indefatigable reviewer. Motets it is.

Again this is a very nice recording, it does the same thing that the recording of Des Prez's Mass did in the sense that it includes the plainchants where it is applicable just before the Gombert motets. This is always a good thing because it truly gives you a sense of contrast at how different polyphony was and it always gives you a sesne of the song 'kicking in' when ti gets to the polyphony making it that more exciting.

So is this an indispensable addition to your library? Not really unless you went motet mad, you could do much worse than this lovely collection although the best Motets are still Dufay's for my money. But there are still more to come, YAY! So I might be proven wrong.

The Credo here is particularly good, a relentless piece ofm usic with little breathing space, so if you must get only one Motet by Gombert get that one.

Track Highlights

1. Credo
2. O beata Maria
3. Lugebat David Absalon
4. Media vita in morte sumus

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

According to contemporary physician and mathematician Girolamo Cardano, writing in Theonoston (1560), in 1540 Gombert was convicted of gross indecency with a boy in his care and was sentenced to hard labor in the galleys. The exact duration of his service in the galleys is not known, but he was able to continue composing for at least part of the time. Most likely he was pardoned sometime in or before 1547, the date he sent a letter along with a motet from Tournai. The Magnificat settings preserved uniquely in manuscript in Madrid are often held to have been the "swansongs" that according to Cardano won his pardon, though an alternative hypothesis (Lewis 1994) is that Cardano was referring to the highly penitential First Book of four-part motets. It is unclear how long Gombert lived after his pardon or what positions, if any, he held; his career faded into relative obscurity after being freed. He may have retired to Tournai, and spent his last years as a canon at the cathedral there. In 1556, Hermann Finck mentioned that he was still living, and in 1561 Cardano wrote that he was dead.

No youtubing for you today.

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