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Classical - Released March 27, 2015 | ECM New Series

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or de l'année - Diapason d'or - Qobuzissime - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Secular Vocal Music - Released April 25, 2014 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or de l'année - Diapason d'or - 4 étoiles Classica
There is no shortage of things shared in common between Claude Le Jeune and Roland de Lassus (1530-1600 and 1532-1594 respectively); one was born in Mons, and the other a stone's throw away in Valenciennes. They knew and appreciated each other's work. But the main difference between them lay in the religious backdrop: Mons was Catholic, and Valenciennes a bastion of the Huguenots. That lay at the root of the very different styles in our two musicians' works. Here, Le Jeune takes the cake, with a range of religious motets and secular songs, which he excelled in, and which offered him a space to experiment with new harmonies, rhythms and melodies. But sadly for Le Jeune, the obstacles faced by French Protestantism barred him from spreading his works very far, so his fame was restricted to the more tolerant parts of Europe. We should add that the Italian style was beginning to spread more widely – and Lassus would take full advantage of this development – but Le Jeune gave it the brush-off, with the result that his music had a somewhat less "modern" sound, in spite of his considerable daring. Of course, today, these considerations have all passed away, and we can listen to this sublime music, performed magnificently by the Huelgas ensemble. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released January 12, 2014 | Cypres

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc de Classica - La Clef du mois RESMUSICA
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released June 22, 2009 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama - Choc de Classica
Did Michelangelo Rossi (1601-1656) know Gesualdo's madrigals? One might well ask how much the composer-murderer influenced Rossi, who also pushed chromatism, dissonance, and wild modulations to the limit: a kind of musical mannerism which could be mistaken for the work of a 21st-century composer who had turned their hand to old-style madrigals using avant-garde composing techniques. Once again, it's the Huelgas Ensemble who bring us this beautiful handful of exceptional madrigals, recorded in public concert – it's a testament to the quality of the ensemble that we don't hear a single bum note, a real tour de force. The selection takes in some of the most excessive pieces in terms of deviant harmonies, outlaw dissonances, and all manner of delicious and stupefying incongruities. Frankly, it would be no exaggeration to say that Rossi is the worthy heir and equal of Gesualdo. But note: don't confuse this Rossi with Salomone Rossi or Luigi Rossi, both from the same baroque era, and absolutely not with one Tino… © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released April 22, 2016 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles Classica
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Classical - Released July 28, 2017 | Sony Music Classical Local

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
The St. Bartholomew's Day massacre in August 1572 did not bring only death and desolation: on 5 September of this dark year, Pope Gregory XIII had the massacre celebrated as a liberation of the kingdom of France, and requested a Te Deum to be sung to thank God for saving the Most Christian French King from the heretics. The ensemble Huelgas has decided to explore the French Protestant music of that period (including that of composer Jacques Goudimel who was one of the victims of the ongoing murderous rage who had begun in Paris, but went on throughout France for another month or so, in Lyon in Goudimel’s case), but also that of Catholics who applauded the anti-Huguenot frenzy of the Pope. This album, a superb overview of sixteenth-century music, is divided in three parts: psalms set to music by several Huguenot musicians (with the texts by Clément Marot and Theodore de Beze taken from the famous Genevan Psalter published by Calvin), the papal rejoicings including a piece by Palestrina, and finally the profane and the sacred works in the Huguenot world. The Huelgas ensemble offers a deep insight on music, vocal and instrumental, on both sides of the Reformation in these troubled times. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released July 14, 2014 | harmonia mundi

Distinctions Choc de Classica
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Classical - Released August 28, 2015 | Cypres

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Classical - Released January 19, 2015 | harmonia mundi

Distinctions Choc de Classica
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Classical - Released July 2, 2021 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
Making the most of the vocal and stylistic near-perfection of his Huelgas Ensemble, Paul van Nevel explores English polyphony between 1300 and 1400. The authors of this late medieval music are unknown, as these pieces have come down to us anonymously, unlike many works on the continent, whose composers are known and often highly revered. But in spite of the anonymity, this material which was written around the time of the Hundred Years' War had a great influence on the music of those distant times. The dozen sacred and secular a capella pieces presented here come from various sources preserved in the United States (New York), England (London, Oxford, Durham) and France (Tours, Chantilly). With their strange chromaticism and extreme, complicated modulations, the composers of Albion paved the way for a new musical style. This new album consists of mostly unknown and unrecorded pieces that add to the knowledge of an era that is still largely undiscovered. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released August 28, 2020 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
The general trend in recordings of Renaissance polyphony has been toward typing music to specific surroundings: royal festivities, religious feast days, and the like. This collection by the Huelgas Ensemble goes in the other direction, providing three CDs' worth of music ranging from the medieval era to Anton Bruckner, with most of the pieces falling into some stretch of the High Renaissance. The music was recorded, beautifully, in a Romanesque church near Dijon in 2018, and the program is unified loosely by a set of general guidelines for the selections at that event: the music emphasized "unknown repertoire, undeservedly obscure composers, and experiments that fall outside the scope of the normal concert season." All of those factors are present here, with that undeservedly obscure composer Anonymous heading the list, and the ensemble makes a strong case for the large body of rarely performed Renaissance music that's out there. Listen to the gorgeous Lamentations of Jeremiah of José de Vaquedano at the end of the first disc, or the delicate but serious chanson Que null'étoile sur nous of Claude Le Jeune, otherwise known mostly for a few metrical chanson experiments that turn up in music history classes. Each piece is given a careful and often affecting performance by the veteran Huelgas Ensemble and director Paul van Nevel, and with the extraordinary sound, this release may be just the thing for listeners who want to luxuriate in some unfamiliar Renaissance music for a couple of hours. © TiVo
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Classical - Released August 28, 2020 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Hi-Res
The general trend in recordings of Renaissance polyphony has been toward typing music to specific surroundings: royal festivities, religious feast days, and the like. This collection by the Huelgas Ensemble goes in the other direction, providing three CDs' worth of music ranging from the medieval era to Anton Bruckner, with most of the pieces falling into some stretch of the High Renaissance. The music was recorded, beautifully, in a Romanesque church near Dijon in 2018, and the program is unified loosely by a set of general guidelines for the selections at that event: the music emphasized "unknown repertoire, undeservedly obscure composers, and experiments that fall outside the scope of the normal concert season." All of those factors are present here, with that undeservedly obscure composer Anonymous heading the list, and the ensemble makes a strong case for the large body of rarely performed Renaissance music that's out there. Listen to the gorgeous Lamentations of Jeremiah of José de Vaquedano at the end of the first disc, or the delicate but serious chanson Que null'étoile sur nous of Claude Le Jeune, otherwise known mostly for a few metrical chanson experiments that turn up in music history classes. Each piece is given a careful and often affecting performance by the veteran Huelgas Ensemble and director Paul van Nevel, and with the extraordinary sound, this release may be just the thing for listeners who want to luxuriate in some unfamiliar Renaissance music for a couple of hours. © TiVo
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Classical - Released April 1, 2020 | Cypres

Hi-Res Booklet
It's rare to see a recording of Renaissance polyphony hit the classical best-seller charts, but this one has, and even from a cursory listen, it's easy to see why. The music on the album is almost completely unknown, and the performances by the venerable Huelgas Ensemble are gorgeous. On top of this, the sound, recorded live at Belgium's Park Abbey, is wonderfully clear. For Renaissance fans, the big news here will be the Missa pro mortuis, or requiem mass, of composer Simone de Bonefont (born ca. 1500). This composer will be unfamiliar even to serious Renaissance music lovers. He was from the Auvergne region, far out of the French mainstream, and only four of his compositions have survived. What's heard here suggests that it's worth looking around for more: the style of the mass is unique, with the top line often in chant-like long notes (although it is not a cantus firmus mass) while the other voices add more elaborate polyphony beneath. Certain turns of phrase, especially in the Offertorium, are illustrated with dissonance striking for mid-16th century France, and the text is treated with notable formal freedom. General listeners have much to celebrate too. The album closes with four separate settings of the same text, "Media vita in morte sumus." The grim idea that in the middle of life we are already dead, attributed to a monk called Notker the Stutterer, is familiar for those from theologians to ordinary Mexicans selling Day of the Dead figures in a marketplace, but it's susceptible to a variety of musical treatments, and combining multiple settings of the same text is not as common on Renaissance recordings as one might think it would be. Listen to each of the four settings, one of which is in German (Martin Luther himself translated the text). Each one has a different flavor, concluding with the magnificently somber version by Nicolas Gombert. This is a recording of High Renaissance choral music that will be treasured by those who acquire it. © TiVo
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Classical - Released March 16, 2018 | Sony Music Classical Local

Hi-Res Booklet
Francesca Caccini was one of the leading musical figures at the Medici court in the first half of the 17th century. Even today it is still unusual for a woman to be equally successful as a professional singer, a published composer and a singing teacher. La Liberazione di Ruggiero dall’isola d’Alcina was commissioned by Maria Maddalena of Austria, who married Grand Duke Cosimo II de’ Medici in 1608, and was written to be performed on the occasion of a visit by Crown Prince of Poland. A single extravagantly staged performance took place on 3 February 1625, ending with an equestrian ballet performed by no fewer than twenty-four horsemen. Like most Italian operas dating from that time, La Liberazione requires today’s musicians to take several important decisions. For one, the score contains two passages where Caccini explicitly demands music that is not found in the score. The missing passages have been completed with music by Caccini’s contemporary Salomone Rossi, taken from his Primo libro delle sinfonie e gagliarde. Another decision concerns the instruments. The ones that were used during the 1625 performance are indicated in a number of stage directions and offer us a good idea of the sort of instruments that were available to the composer. Even so, it is not always possible to follow them to the letter. The instruments used to realize the thoroughbass are not listed. Just as the composer allotted a particular key to each of the three main roles, so the Huelgas Ensemble have retained the same instrumental colour for each of these parts. Alcina is always accompanied by strings and mostly also by a virginal. Ruggiero is accompanied by four recorders, while the bass is sometimes doubled by a viol or a Baroque trombone. Melissa is accompanied by a lira da gamba, a virginal and a bass instrument. And Neptune is accompanied by three trombones intended to lend further emphasis to his masculine strength. The score of La Liberazione di Ruggiero is notable for its rapid shifts between vivid recitatives with different accompaniments, extremely melodious arias, lively choral movements in the form of canzonettas and madrigals sung by constantly changing forces, including ladies of the court, demons, enchanted trees, liberated knights and, in the final madrigal, the assembled company, and colourful instrumental sinfonias, ritornellos and intermedi. The historical stage directions also contain a number of notes on the instrumentation. These leave the modern interpreter in no doubt that the continuo needs to be realized in the most colourful way imaginable. As for the tonality, the work is laid out along carefully structured lines, each of the solo roles having its own distinctive tonality. A very modern way of dealing with characterizations. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released October 19, 1993 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released March 26, 1999 | harmonia mundi

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Classical - Released March 15, 2002 | harmonia mundi

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Classical - Released October 23, 2015 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
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Classical - Released March 26, 2010 | deutsche harmonia mundi

By mashing together the names of Praetorius and Bach to form PraeBachtorius, the Ensemble Huelgas are signalling that they mean to offer dumbstruck listeners versions by either artist of over thirty religious Lutheran chorales. In some cases, such as Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein, we find no fewer than three versions of each, written to be inserted into various works – cantatas, church chorales, passions etc. Naturally, the century that separates these two musicians (Praetorius lived from 1571 to 1621, Bach from 1685 to 1750) implies a major difference in writing style and conception. Praetorius enjoyed all the melodic and harmonic inventions of Italy in general and Venice in particular, with his extravagantly rich polychoral writing. For Bach, who wrote at least four hundred Lutheran chorales, some destined for much larger works, and others for liturgical use. Recall that Bach's Lutheran chorale demanded four mixed voices; the original theme of the chorale was for the soprano, and the works would be distributed homophonically, that is, everyone would sing more or less the same words in the same time, rhythmically speaking. In other words; no imitations, no vertically-independent lines, etc. Praetorius, on the other hand, didn't hesitate to take on very different genres, going from a line accompanied by a solo continuo to very elaborate pieces. The meeting of the two is fascinating. Note that the original melodies here are taken from the immense Lutheran catalogue, including a few by Luther himself, and others by musicians from the decades following the Reformation: but none from either Bach or Praetorius themselves. The idea was to use old, well-known material. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released October 10, 2018 | Cypres

Hi-Res Booklet