Thursday, 29 November 2007

15. Orlande de Lassus - Motets (c. 1555-1604)


Title: Lassus - Missa Surge Propera
Performer: The Cardinall's Musick
Director: Andrew Carwood
Year: 2004
Length: 37 minutes


As you can see by the title it is another bunch of Motets. More unaccompanied motets... but they are quite good, Lassus is definitely in a different league than the average composer, his compositions show a lot more focus in terms of the music. The music is dramatic and the voices aren't as spread out as in most polyphony, Lassus is able to converge and disperse them at will for great dramatic effect.

That being said the whole format of the motet is pretty rigid and therefore it is not as great a departure as one might expect. And for music that was composed in a space of 50 years the diferences between the pieces are minimal. If we think about the evolution of music in the last 50 years of the 20th century we get a more telling contrast.

We will really have to wait for the 17th century, particularly the second half of it, to start getting quite different music but it is thankfully around the corner. In the meantime Lassus makes some more lovely motets to add to this list.

Track Highlights

1. Quam Pulchra Es
2. Tota Pulchra Es
3. Magnificat Quatri Toni
4. Surge Propera Amica Mea

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

One of the most prolific, versatile, and universal composers of the late Renaissance, Lassus wrote over 2000 works in all Latin, French, Italian and German vocal genres known in his time. These include 530 motets, 175 Italian madrigals and villanellas, 150 French chansons, and 90 German lieder. No strictly instrumental music by Lassus is known to survive, or ever to have existed: an interesting omission for a composer otherwise so wide-ranging and prolific, during an age when instrumental music was becoming an ever-more prominent means of expression, all over Europe.

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