King's Singers

Jean Richafort: Requiem - Tributes to Josquin Desprez

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The centerpiece of this 2013 release by the King's Singers is the austere but sublime Requiem in Memoriam Josquin Desprez by Jean Richafort, a Franco-Flemish composer of the Renaissance era who probably studied at some point with Josquin, and who frequently used fragments of the master's music in musical tributes to him. Richafort's work is put in historical and stylistic context with an assortment of motets by his contemporaries, Benedictus Appenzeller, Nicolas Gombert, Jacquet of Mantua, Hieronymus Vinders, along with two examples of Josquin's music, a Salve regina and a secular piece, Nymphes, nappés. The King's Singers' unaccompanied voices unify the diverse selctions through their smooth lines and resonant ensemble blend, though the distinct qualities of the different composers come through clearly enough. The intricacy of Josquin's counterpoint and the nuances of his harmonies put his two examples above the rest, though it's easy to understand how the other composers aspired to his achievements and derived their own expressive mannerisms and inflections from his music. Signum's reproduction is clean and open, with responsive acoustics that give the King's Singers a transparent sound.

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