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Track(s) taken from CDA67959

Nymphes des bois / Requiem aeternam

5vv; honouring the death of Ockeghem in 1497; 1545 Susato print, with altered text
author of text

Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Studio Master:
Studio Master:
Recording details: August 2010
Kloster Pernegg, Waldviertel, Austria
Produced by Colin Mason
Engineered by Markus Wallner
Release date: August 2012
Total duration: 3 minutes 45 seconds

Cover artwork: The Dead Christ (c1480-1490) by Andrea Mantegna (c1431-1506)
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan / Alinari / Bridgeman Art Library, London


'Not only do the performances here range from genuine tenderness … to majestic splendour, but the balance is perfect and the melodic lines are absolutely clear, so that every detail of Richafort's remarkable contrapuntal writing can be heard … the other works on the disc are given similarly wonderful performances … Cinquecento's imploring rendition of the masterpiece that is Miserere mei, Deus is surely perfect in the way it balances a profound understanding, and projection, of its intricate counterpoint with its vast melodic sweep … if I could nominate this recording as 'Outstanding' twice over, I would do, for I have run out of superlatives. It is, quite simply, sublime' (International Record Review)

'Cinquecento's sound has a magic of its own' (Gramophone)

'Cinquecento give a more finely blended and balanced performance than I have yet heard from them, with spacious legato lines, breadth of vision and appreciation of the architecture and majestic solemnity of Richafort's 6-part polyphony, framed by gorgeous works by Josquin, his probable master. Vividly sung and recorded' (Choir & Organ)

'Musically inspired by Josquin, this is a majestic, expansive requiem … the shades of mourning are illuminated by moments of light and serenity—glimpses of a sublime hereafter. Cinquecento captures the work's meditative quality to profound effect, the all-male vocal ensemble creating an aptly plangent sonority and a tone of high seriousness … the group can also produce all the opulence and bloom of a much larger ensemble. Throughout, the singing is exquisitely controlled: arching polyphonic lines are beautifully shaped, textural contrasts subtly enhanced, never over-dramatised, and the voices—silken and effortless—seem to be suspended in amber' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Stephen Rice’s authoritative booklet notes are a valuable resource when it comes to placing the music in its historical context and delving further into the complexities of its creation, but the expressive warmth and sonority of Cinquecento’s voices, superbly recorded, are the source to which you will want to return for more and more. Superbly unified, the dynamic shading which brings forth leading voice lines and gently points to significant harmonic shifts are done so naturally that the music seems to enter your soul through some kind of osmosis rather than something so banal as mere listening' (MusicWeb International)
Josquin’s Nymphes des bois, to a text by Jean Molinet, is set in the Phrygian mode, with the plainsong ‘Requiem aeternam’ sung in transposition to conform with that mode. Molinet’s poem is full of puns, assonance, and alliteration, larding the text with significance relating to the deceased Ockeghem. Molinet’s original describes the Fate Atropos, whose role it was to cut the thread of life, as a ‘très terrible satrappe’, who ‘a vostre Ockeghem attrapé dans sa trappe’, and also describes the composer as ‘vray tresorier de musique’, alluding to his position as Treasurer of the royal abbey of St Martin, Tours. In the earliest manuscript source of the work, the notation is all black, a device used on several occasions at this time for especially mournful funerary pieces. The version performed here is that printed by Susato in 1545, reflecting the change in musical and poetic style between Josquin’s composition of the lament, presumably in or just after Ockeghem’s death in 1497, and the era of Richafort, Gombert, and other post-Josquinian figures.

from notes by Stephen Rice © 2012

Nymphes des bois de Josquin, sur un texte de Jean Molinet, recourt, nous l’avons vu, au mode phrygien, le plain-chant «Requiem aeternam» étant exécuté dans une transposition pour s’y conformer. Le poème de Molinet regorge de paronymies, d’assonances et d’allitérations qui truffent le texte de sens renvoyant au défunt Ockeghem. Dans l’original de Molinet, la Parque Atropos, chargée de couper le fil de la vie, est dépeinte comme un «très terrible satrappe» qui «a vostre Ockeghem attrapé dans sa trappe» tandis que le compositeur est qualifié de «vray tresorier de musique», une allusion à sa charge de Trésorier de l’abbaye royale de Saint-Martin, à Tours. Dans la plus ancienne source manuscrite, la notation est entièrement noire, un procédé utilisé en plusieurs occasions à l’époque pour des pièces funèbres particulièrement dolentes. La version choisie ici est celle imprimée par Susato en 1545, qui reflète le changement de style musicalo-poétique intervenu entre la déploration de Josquin (probablement écrite à la mort, ou juste après la mort d’Ockeghem en 1497) et l’époque des Richafort, Gombert et autres figures post-josquinennes.

extrait des notes rédigées par Stephen Rice © 2012
Français: Hypérion

Josquins Werk Nymphes des bois, dessen Text von Jean Molinet stammt, ist im phrygischen Modus komponiert, wobei der Cantus planus „Requiem aeternam“ in transponierter Form gesungen wird, so dass er mit diesem Modus übereinstimmt. Molinets Text ist voller Wortspiele, Assonanzen und Alliterationen und geradezu gespickt mit Anspielungen an den verstorbenen Ockeghem. Molinets ursprünglicher Text beschreibt Atropos, deren Aufgabe es war, den Lebensfaden zu durchtrennen, als eine „très terrible satrappe“, die „a vostre Ockeghem attrapé dans sa trappe“, und bezeichnet den Komponisten zudem als einen „vray tresorier de musique“, womit er auf dessen Posten als Schatzmeister an der königlichen Abtei von St. Martin in Tours anspielte. In der ältesten Manuskript-Quelle des Werks ist die Notation durchgehend schwarz, was ein Stilmittel zu jener Zeit war, das besonders bei Trauerwerken verwendet wurde. Die hier eingespielte Version entspricht dem Druck von Susato aus dem Jahre 1545, in dem der Wandel des musikalischen und poetischen Stils von Josquins Lamento-Komposition, wahrscheinlich aus Ockeghems Todesjahr 1497 oder kurz danach, und der Ära Richaforts, Gomberts und anderen Komponisten nach Josquin deutlich wird.

aus dem Begleittext von Stephen Rice © 2012
Deutsch: Viola Scheffel

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