Josquin: I. Motets & chansons

Josquin : I. Motets & chansons
Cut Circle, Jesse Rodin

Billed as a 'new sound for Josquin', Cut Circle have plenty of revolutionary zeal – but don’t let that put you off, this is not generalised early music defamiliarization, it is joyfully nuanced. The obvious influence is Musica Reservata's work in the 1970s with mezzo soprano, Jantina Noorman who studied the techniques of various folk singers. The precision of attack and articulation from the singers of Cut Circle draws repeatedly on her sound-world particularly at emotional high points and in the secular songs, and whereas it might take a track or two to fully adjust to this bright and vivid style, it's certainly worth that leap of faith because coupled with Jesse Rodin’s brisk tempi the extraordinary architecture of Josquin’s music is made delightfully clear. Should you want a deeper dive, as part of The Josquin Research Project at Stanford University, you can see and search the digital scores used on this recording.


The songs are bitingly clever and run a gamut from the uncomfortable tale of Une musque de Biscaye to the deeply moving Parfons regretz, wonderfully differentiated in tone and atmosphere from the motets. Josquin is a truly remarkable composer and Cut Circle’s superb energy is quite addictive.

To read the full text of this review please visit Gramophone (December 2023)


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