Magnificat - Rogier: Missae Sex - Music Media Monthly
One of the most beautiful discs to cross my desk this year is this stunner from the vocal ensemble Magnificat, accompanied by His Majesty's Sagbutts and Cornetts. The program they've selected celebrates the 450th birthday of Philippe Rogier, a composer of Franco-Flemish birth who spent his tragically brief career-he died in 1596 at age 35-in the court of Spanish king Philip II. Though he composed hundreds of works, only a few remain in two volumes, one of which is the posthumously-published collection Missae Sex. The two parody Masses that form the core of this recording are both from that collection, and the first is presented alongside the previously-existing motet ("Inclita Stirps Jesse," by Jacobus Clemens non Papa) from which its basic melodic structure is derived. This practice, the "parody Mass," is one that Rogier brought with him to Spain from his homeland, where it had been perfected by such illustrious predecessors as Josquin Des Prez and Johannes Ockeghem. The second piece is based on a more unusual source: a melody derived from the letters in the phrase "Philippus Secundus Rex Hispaniae." Interspersed with the Mass sections are a motet of Rogier and two organ solos by Antonio de Cabezon. The singing by the Magnificat ensemble is absolutely first-rate, as is the playing of His Majesty's Sagbutts and Cornetts, and the sound quality on this hybrid Super Audio disc is both warm and brilliant. Very highly recommended.