Palestrina, Oxford Camerata - Missa Papea Marcelli

Tuesday 1st June 1993
Palestrina, Oxford Camerata - Missa Papea Marcelli

STYLE: Classical
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 22078-
LABEL: Naxos 8550573
FORMAT: CD Album
ITEMS: 1
RRP: £5.87

Reviewed by John Irvine

Debates about what is and what is not acceptable for church music are not new: in fact, back in the 1560s it was a very hot issue at the Roman Catholic Council of Trent which launched the Counter-Reformation. One burning issue was the use of polyphony: extremists wanted polyphony, with its scant regard for textual clarity, banned. If you can't make the words out, ban it and use plain chant instead! Legend would have it that "Missa Papae Marcelli" was written by Palestrjna to demonstrate that writers of polyphony COULD make the words be heard and understood without sacrificing their artistic aspirations! He even proved that secular music could form the basis of spiritual music (the mass is based on the folk tune "L'homme Arme"). If all this seems a bit remote, then just sit back and allow the pure tone of Renaissance polyphony to ring through. Listen to the smooth, singable lines of melody, and the pure harmonics of a master composer at work, and enjoy! Cheap too!

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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