Edward Wickham has continued to explore indefatigably the byways of Flemish
polyphony since his ground-breaking series of performances and recordings
of Ockeghem. Barbireau lived his short life in Antwerp, dying at 36. But
his fame spread widely and his music continued to circulate throughout Europe
for decades. He is easy to listen to and enjoyable to sing, with 'seemingly
inexhaustible melodic and harmonic invention'. This Mass is nominally in
four parts, but they split for special emphasis, and one passage in the Credo
culminates with a seven-note chord. Edward Wickham's team is nine singers,
including two female sopranos.
This is sung and recorded to the high standard of this series, with full
notes by Rob Wegman. An unusual feature is that all the singers gathered
around a single (facsimile) manuscript, in the manner of the time. For them,
this made 'a profound difference'.
Peter Grahame Woolf