Sunday, August 30, 2009

Agricola masses

Renaissance polyphony fans should be delighted with the new series of Alexander Agricola masses performed by the A.N.S. Choir (of Hungary), directed by Janos Bali. Agricola is arguably the most neglected of Ren composers. Reese considers him a cross-over figure between Ockeghem and Josquin, since he incorporates compositional features of both, but in my view he is complete and self-sufficient in and for himself.
The masses "Le serviteur" and "In myne zin" are full of intricate counterpoint and delightful cadential patterns, here beautifully performed and almost perfectly recorded. They will delight anyone who enjoys a big choral sound, similar to the Westminster Cathedral Choir or, historically, of the Monteverdi Choir of Hamburg.

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