The Leiden Choirbooks vol. VI

Egidius Zwartet & College
157:20 (2 CDs)
Et’cetera KTC1415
Music by Flamingus, Hellinck, de Manchicourt, Mergot de Novo Portu, de Sermisy & anon

The final 2CD volume in this exemplary series of recordings of music from the superb Leiden Choirbooks presents on the first CD two complete Mass settings by Lupus Hellinck and Pierre de Manchicourt respectively with motets by Johannes Flamingus and Franciscus Mergot de Novo Portu, while the second, perhaps more intriguingly, presents the Mass ‘Philomena’ by Claudin de Sermisy in a liturgical context, which also employs further polyphonic works by Flamingus and Joachimus de Monte from the sixth Leiden Choirbook. Avoiding the frequently recorded works by the established masters which also feature in the choirbooks, the performers have wisely concentrated on music we are unlikely to have heard before by composers whose names are less than household words. What is truly remarkable is the uniformly high quality of the music. The quality of the singing by the Egidius Quartet and College has improved throughout this protracted project, and they present the current programme with considerable authority. The lavish illustrations and the high quality programme notes to which we have become accustomed throughout the series also grace this final volume, leaving listeners with a suitably rich celebration of these remarkable musical volumes.

D. James Ross