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Magnificat - Philippe Rogier - Audiophile Audition


18 August 2011
Audiophile Audition
Steven Ritter
4 Stars

Who is Philippe Rogier (c. 1561-96)? He is one of a group of Flemish musicians who migrated to Madrid during the tenure of King Philip II, was subsequently ordained a priest, and lasted until his death in 1596, a career of some 24 years that saw him start as a chorister and end up as maestro de capilla. He was fairly prolific, with some 250 works to his credit, though a fire in Madrid eliminated about four-fifths of them. We don't know much about him, though his music exemplifies the merging of two separate styles, his native Flemish origins and the Italian choral style that was the rage of his time.

Knowing what, if any, accompanying instrumentation is needed for pieces like these is always a conundrum of contemporary performance. There are references to different instruments being used, but the final choice is only one's best guess based on available evidence. Here we are given a variety of cornetts, sackbuts, harp, lute, dulcian, and organ, and the combinations prove very pleasing on the ear, certainly something you can imagine as having been suitable even in a church. The motet Domine Dominus Noster served as the prototype for the mass of the same name, while the parody associations of Missa Domine in virtute tua with Palestrina's motet are quite obvious, and it is a wonderful thing that this work was given before the mass on this recording.

Rogier is a voice worth hearing, and no one who loves music from this period will be disappointed in the quality of these compositions. What a shame about that fire! Linn's Super Audio sound captures the wonderful acoustics of London's Henry Wood hall to perfection.
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