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Jacob Obrecht

3448 Views 13 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Mandryka
Jacob Obrecht (1457-1505) died too young; Josquin Desprez outlived and overshadowed him. But he was very forward-thinking; as R.D. Ross observed, his "motets reveal the extent to which tonal root movements had overtaken modal root movements possibly for the first time in music history." Or as Richard Staines puts it, it "represents an early stage in the evolution of diatonic tonality."

He lived in times when masses were based on a cantus firmus (a predetermined melody), and he was skilled at manipulating it as a structural device. His Missa Maria Zart is almost Brucknerian in its length and structure; he breaks the chant up into segments for development.

"Obrecht's premature death deprived Europe of one of its most formidable musical intellects," Richard Staines observed.

Has anyone else explored his music?
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I'd quite like to get ahold of Rob Wegman's biography of him some time.
That book is worth reading. The frustrating part of the book for me was, since most of his music hasn't been recorded, you read about pieces you'll probably never hear. And he writes in such a way that it doesn't look or translate to a keyboard as good as it does when it's actually sung.

But I'm glad for what's out there. And if you ever find a recording of his Missa Fortuna Desperata, please drop me a line.
What do you think of those Hungarian ANS Chorus recordings?
My chief complaint is, they sound like they were recorded at the back of an echo chamber. Listening to an entire mass from them in one sitting wears me out as I'm trying to hear the details.
I haven't actually had a problem with the acoustics myself and those records seemed fine enough.
You're fortunate, because they have recorded more Obrecht pieces than most others.
Well, that's not exactly what I meant. Whilst I don't find them objectionable to listen to they just seem to lack any individuality as if they're just going through the motions.
You think so too? I thought it was just me.
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