Cipriano de Rore: Missa Vivat Felix Hercules / Motets

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If your idea of heaven is male vocalists singing religious Renaissance music as you ponder the meaning of life, this beautiful CD is for you.

Cipriano of Rore (1516-1565) composed the Mass in honour of his patron, Ercole II d’Este, the sound meant to convey the latter’s Godliness. The sleeve notes are interesting; the tenor sings a line starting “Long Live Ercole II..” (in Latin) in every part of the Mass. Rore also uses the technique of soggetto cavato, playing word games with the music, based on the syllables for teaching singers how to sight sing — ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la (ut now replaced with do, la with ti). Ercole, whose ego sounds slightly more inflated than Donald Trump’s (Ercole was the eldest son of Alfonso I d’Este and Lucrezia Borgia, so he has pedigree), had five such masses dedicated to him, including this.

The sleeve notes say Rore’s role in musical history “can hardly be over-estimated”, as he was a keeper of tradition and a trailblazer for new music.

Whatever the history, the text (all in Latin) or the cleverness of composition, this is just beautiful, an hour of tranquillity in your busy day. Weser-Renaissance Bremen (featuring Manfred Cordes) sing; a good day in the office for them.

Out on CPO, 7779892.


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