"The sound pattern is very clear and the style of singing fluent, with a perfect legato and a brilliant mixture of voices. Since the acoustic is also approriate, this CD be called successfull by any account."Toccata, 10-11-2014
Cappella Pratensis specializes in the music of Josquin Desprez (= Josqinus Pratensis) and other polyphonic composers of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The ensemble performs its own programs and original interpretations, which are based on academic research. As was customary in the renaissance, the singers of Cappella Pratensis usually stand around a central music stand, singing from facsimiles of original choirbooks. This creates a unique perspective on the repertoire. The ensemble, founded in 1987, is now under the artistic direction of singer and conductor Stratton Bull.
In addition to regular concerts in the Netherlands and Belgium, Cappella Pratensis performs in leading international festivals and venues in France, Portugal, Germany and the United States. The ensemble also has also released several CD recordings which have been greeted with rave press reviews and awards, including the Diapason d’Or and the Prix Choc. From 2005 to 2007, Cappella Pratensis was ensemble-in-residence at the Fondation Royaumont (France), where it gave courses and concerts, and worked with several prominent musicians. In 2009, it released a DVD/CD production of the Missa de Sancto Donatiano by Jacob Obrecht, which contained a reconstruction of the first performance of this mass, filmed on location in Bruges, supplemented with extensive documentation. This production was awarded with a Diapason découverte and the highest rating in the professional magazine Classica.
The CD Vivat Leo! Music for a Medici Pope (2010), directed by guest conductor Joshua Rifkin, was awarded a Diapason d’Or. A successful series of concerts of the Requiem of Pierre de la Rue was led by guest conductor Bo Holten. A DVD of one of these concerts, performed as part of the event Jheronimus Bosch 500, was released in 2010 under the title Bosch Requiem.
In January 2012 a new CD, containing the earliest surviving polyphonic requiem masses in music history, those by Johannes Ockeghem and Pierre de la Rue. In February 2014 the ensemble released a CD containing music written for the feast of the Assumption and transmitted in choirbooks from the Vatican, including Josquin Desprez’s masterpiece Missa Ave maris stella. In late 2015, the ensemble recorded the Missa Cum Jocunditate by Pierre de la Rue.
In 2016, Cappella and the Nederlands Kamerkoor performed eight concerts of the world premiere of the Missa Unitatis, composed in 2008 by Anthony Pitts (* 1969) in a unique partnership with choirs in Antwerp, Breda, ’s-Hertogenbosch, Eindhoven, Tilburg and Helmond. It has also performed during the Early Music Festival in Utrecht, and presented five performances of the program Christmas with Josquin in the Season of Early Music.
Cappella Pratensis shares its vision and approach to vocal polyphony with professionals and amateurs in masterclasses, with multimedia presentations, and also in a week-long summer school that takes place annually during the festival Laus Polyphoniae in Antwerp. In a structural collaboration with the universities of Leuven and Oxford, the musical manuscripts of the workshop of Petrus Alamire are explored by musicologists and adapted for use by other musicians.
The fact that Josquin Desprez would turn out to be one of the most influential composers of the Renaissance, is partly due to the many praises by Martin Luther. Luther saw Josquin's music as the perfect example of how to express text musically while maintaining the intended meaning. If you listen to Josquin's music, you will know what Luther meant. His motets are particularly appealing and engaging.
His popularity led a large number of publishers to publish music with Josquin's name on it, even though it wasn't composed by him at all, as this would undoubtedly generate better sales. Unfortunately, this meant that nowadays it is not always clear which works are written by him, and which are not... His authentic works, however, can be distinguished by their remarkable clarity, ingenuity and depth. Some highlights are his motets Miserere mei, Stabat Mater, his famous Ave Maria, Ut Phoebi Radiis, and his lamentation after the death of Johannes Ockeghem (La Déploration).
The sound pattern is very clear and the style of singing fluent, with a perfect legato and a brilliant mixture of voices. Since the acoustic is also approriate, this CD be called successfull by any account.
(...) the textures are in general exceptionally clear and (...) the lines are beautifully relaxed.
The liveliness of acoustic and tonal beauty of both recordings and performance from the eight male voices pf Cappella Pratensis, celebrating the Annunciation in renaissance Rome with the Missa Ave maris stella by Josquin in liturgical format with plainsong Propers, is a pukka piece of aural time-travel. Their Franco-Italian pronunciation, evoking the papal choir of Josquin's time, is particularly piquant.
Choir & Organ, 31-7-2014
4 1/2 stars
Fono Forum, 01-6-2014
Avocal textured, warm blanket that fully suits the Annunciation. The eight voices are impressive depicted in the church hall.
Opus Klassiek, 19-5-2014
The end result is ensemble singing of the highest order.
De Gelderlander, 10-3-2014
The voices are never in each others way and they seem to float in the space
Katholiek Nieuwsblad, 07-3-2014
On this album Cappella Pratensis is at her best: flawless beauty of sound linked to a faithful interpretation of old scores.
Brabants dagblad , 20-2-2014