With Heinrich Isaac, Giuseppe Maletto and Cantica Symphonia turn their attention to one of the most influential Franco-Flemish composers of the Renaissance, presenting a hitherto unrecorded mass setting, his 'Missa Misericordias Domini', and a selection of outstanding and substantial motets. Isaac was one of the leading composers who, born and trained in Flanders, took up employ in Italy: in his case he worked at the sumptuous court of Lorenzo de Medici in Florence at the end of the 15th century (on the latter s death Isaac was then taken on by the Emperor Maximilian I). This new recording from Glossa offers a rare chance today of appreciating the music of this extraordinarily prolific composer, often unfairly (as he was in his own time) obscured by the shadow cast by his near-contemporary Josquin Desprez, in interpretations which the sextet of long-experienced singers of Cantica Symphonia handle with typical skill. If the 'Missa Misericordias Domini' ultimately owes its thematic material to an Italian secular song, a frottola (and Guido Magnano, in his booklet essay, maps out Isaac s biography in Florence to explain this choice), the motets here including O decus Ecclesiae, Quae est ista and Inviolata are resolutely Marian devotional works; some recorded also for the first time. The established special colouring of Cantica Symphonia s work is maintained here by the well-considered presence in some of the motets of instruments of the time, notably, fiddles, sackbutts and slide trumpets.
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Isaac: Missa Misericordias Domini & Motets
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