The Brabant Ensemble, Stephen Rice
Writing nearly 70 years ago Gustave Reese described Jean Mouton (?1459 -1522) as 'the most gifted of Josquin's emulators' and while that is in many senses true, this new disc from director and musicologist Stephen Rice is still a bit of a revelation. Mouton, like so many composers too easily categorised as Josquinian aftershocks, comes to life in the hands of The Brabant Ensemble and the results are eye opening.
The Missa Faulte d'argent quotes a chanson both tender and sonorous and also shows a preference for fuller textures. The singing is extremely sure-footed, and I like the way Mouton's careful setting of key moments are measured-out e.g. the touching duet on Domine Fili unigenite into the full chords on Qui tollis peccata mundi. There is a lot of variety in this mass and indeed the selection throughout this disc. From the late medieval feel of Gaude virgo Katherina to the imitative exuberance of Illuminare, illuminare, Jerusalem, Mouton delivers on many levels and The Brabant Ensemble perform his works with verve and brilliance.
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