16 Apr 2023

Ludwig Daser: Polyphonic Masses

Ludwig Daser: Polyphonic Masses
Huelgas Ensemble / Paul Van Nevel

DHM G010004950859B

Poor Ludwig Daser (ca.1525-1589), if you’ve heard anything about him it was probably that he once retired as Kapellmeister to the Catholic Court at Munich to make way for Lassus, or that he had a brush with the Inquisition. Less well known is that he was both pupil and successor of Senfl and knew Cipriano de Rore. Daser contributed to 'a high point of German polyphony' as Paul van Nevel puts it; and the two masses recorded here - Missa Preter rerum seriem à 6v and Missa Fors seullement à 4v - date from his Munich period. The Huelgas Ensemble already plan to record more from his later years as Kapellmeister in Württemberg.

Missa Preter rerum seriem is a parody mass based on Josquin's motet which in turn incorporates the Gregorian chant. It's a tuneful and intricate setting, comparing favorably to Rore's more famous mass. The Huelgas Ensemble use two or more voices per part in accordance with the size of Daser's own court chapel choir and this larger ensemble creates a rich, well-balanced sound which at times I found attractively wistful. [...]

Missa Fors seullement is an altogether different beast, drawing on a popular chanson it's direct, unpretentious, and full of confident homophony and sonorous lower-voiced textures. This is a brassy, sumptuous performance. I'm already looking forward to the next volume.

For the full text of this review please see Gramophone magazine (May 2023)

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