The Brabant Ensemble specializes in Flemish music of the High Renaissance, often by lesser-known composers. Jean Mouton (before 1459-1522) is not exactly obscure, but his music is much less often heard than that of his near contemporary Josquin. Mouton's music hardly resembles Josquin's beyond the basic outlines of High Renaissance choral music. It looks both backward and forward, with long, irregular duos that bring Ockeghem to mind, a good deal of contrapuntal artifice in the big motets included as well as in the Missa Fault d'Argent, and, on the other hand, limpid homophonic sections. Sample the lovely "Et homo factus est" for a taste of the latter. The overall impression is of highly expressive, rather virtuosic music, contrasting sharply with the very classical Josquin. Those who haven't heard the Brabant Ensemble are encouraged to give this release a try. The group has recorded Josquin, but its style, full-throated with both male and female singers, is better suited to Mouton. There is an elusive quality of involvement with the texts, perhaps generated by director Stephen Rice's deep background in this music. Hyperion contributes excellent sound from the Parish Church of St. John the Baptist, Loughton, Essex.
Mouton: Missa Faulte d'argent & Motets Review
by James Manheim