The Brabant Ensemble continue their investigation into unknown jewels of the Low Countries Renaissance, researched by their director Stephen Rice and recorded with equal amounts of passion and erudition by the young singers of the group.
Cipriano de Rore was and is principally known as a madrigal composer, and, as Stephen Rice writes, ‘blended the contrapuntal complexity of Low Countries polyphonic style with Italian poetic texts to create a newly expressive vernacular genre’. This recording represents something of a new departure in presenting some of the least well-known aspects of the output of a composer who is justly famous in other fields.
The album contains two Mass settings based on French chansons, Missa a note negre on a composition by Rore himself, and Missa Doulce mémoire, which takes one of the sixteenth century’s greatest hits, by Pierre Regnault dit Sandrin (c1490–after 1560) as its inspiration. Also included are three motets. Fratres: Scitote is apparently a unique instance of composition to its text: St Paul here tells the story of the Last Supper, in which Jesus takes bread, blesses and distributes it, and thereby institutes the ritual of Holy Communion.