Krzysztof Penderecki

Krzysztof Penderecki
Krzysztof Penderecki (1933-2020) conducting his oratorio "Seven Gates of Jerusalem" at the Winter Palace, St Petersburg, in 2001. Photo by Dmitry Lovetsky

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Nicolas Gombert: Motets, Vol. II – Beauty Farm (Download 44.1kHz/16bit)

This double album of motets by Nicolas Gombert from the vocal ensemble Beauty Farm is their second release, offering several more first recordings and adding considerably to our picture of this intriguing Renaissance composer. A small change of personnel since their previous album leads to a richer, denser sound. This feels like a calculated move, since Jorge Martín's booklet-notes refer to a famous passage in Practica musica (1556) by the theorist Hermann Finck where Gombert's style is described as innovative because it "avoids pauses, and his work is rich with full harmonies and imitative counterpoint".

Finck's description serves, I would suggest, as a summation of both Gombert's style and Beauty Farm's performance. Qualities which I previously related to the Hilliard Ensemble and admired afresh in Beauty Farm – "never hurrying, never obviously cadencing" – are amplified on this new album, in which one feels as if great slabs of rich, dense polyphony are served up with relish. Richness and density can, however, loom too large at times, as occassionally Beauty Farm deny Gombert's polyphony a sense of spaciousness. This tends to happen through relatively brief final chords and is then further condensed by short gaps between the motets themselves, and occasionally the motet-halves. On disc 2, Suscipe verbum barely ceases resounding before In te Domine speravi arrives all too soon to create an awkward junction.

Yet there is so much to enjoy on this album, especially from the spicy harmonic twists of Hortus conclusus, previously recorded at higher pitch by the Brabant Ensemble (Hyperion 2007). This track demonstrates what is rapidly becoming the trademark style of Beauty Farm: an extremely rich, treacly sound from lower voices whose carefully cultivated homogeneity sublimates dissonance. To this end, there is a superb rendition of Media vita which alone is worth the album price.

Source: Edward Breen (

Στο δεύτερο άλμπουμ με μοτέτα του Νικολά Γκομπέρ, το φωνητικό σύνολο γαλλο-φλαμανδικής πολυφωνικής μουσικής, Beauty Farm, ερμηνεύει 17 ακόμη μοτέτα, για πέντε και έξι φωνές, από τα 160 και πλέον μοτέτα που συνέθεσε ο σπουδαίος Γαλλο-Φλαμανδός συνθέτης της Αναγέννησης.

Το φωνητικό σύνολο Beauty Farm, του οποίου το έργο επικεντρώνεται στη γαλλο-φλαμανδική πολυφωνική μουσική της Αναγέννησης, ιδρύθηκε το 2014 από τους Markus Muntean και Bernhard Trebuch. Το Beauty Farm έχει έδρα του το καρθουσιανό μοναστήρι του 1314, το οποίο λεηλατήθηκε και πυρπολήθηκε από οθωμανικά στρατεύματα κατά τη διάρκεια της Πολιορκίας της Βιένης το 1529 και ξαναχτίστηκε τον 17ο και τον 18ο αιώνα, στην αυστριακή πόλη Μαουερμπάχ.

Το άλμπουμ ηχογραφήθηκε στην εκκλησία του καρθουσιανού μοναστηριού στην πόλη Μαουερμπάχ, στην Αυστρία, μεταξύ 25 και 28 Μαΐου 2016, και κυκλοφόρησε την ίδια χρονιά από την αυστριακή δισκογραφική εταιρεία Fra Bernardo.

[The original video was removed for "copyright reasons"]

Download the CD

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(44.1kHz/16bit), Size / Μέγεθος: 548 MB

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Nicolas Gombert (c.1495-1560)

♪ Motets, Vol. II

1. Beatus vir a 6 [00:00]*
2. Ave Maria a 5 [10:56]
3. Pater noster a 5 [15:12]
4. Media vita a 6 [20:05]
5. Ego flos campi a 5 [24:45]
6. Respice Domine a 5 [34:40]
7. Hodie nata est a 5 [42:21]
8. O Domine Jesu Christe a 6 [48:04]
9. Suscipe verbum a 5 [56:27]
10. In te Domine speravi a 6 [1:03:08]
11. Patefactae sunt a 5 [1:10:10]
12. Hortus conclusus es a 5 [1:14:45]
13. Ego sum qui sum a 6 [1:18:04]
14. O rex gloriae a 6 [1:25:10]
15. Ne reminiscaris a 5 [1:33:02]
16. Da pacem Domine a 5 [1:37:13]
17. Conceptio tua a 5 [1:43:32]

Beauty Farm:

Bart Uvyn, countertenor
Florian Schmitt, tenor
Adriaan De Koster, tenor
Hannes Wagner, tenor
Christoph Drescher, baritone
Joachim Höchbauer, bass

Recording: Chartreuse at Mauerbach, Church, Austria, May 25-28, 2016

Fra Bernardo 2016

Cover: Muntean & Rosenblum

(HD 1080p – Audio video)

* Start time of each work

Beauty Farm founded 2014 by Markus Muntean and Bernhard Trebuch is a vocal group focused to the Franco-Flemish polyphony of the renaissance. The international ensemble is based in the carthusian monastery at Mauerbach (Austria). The singers are members of well known ensembles. Beauty Farm exclusively records for frabernardo.

The German music theorist Hermann Finck wrote in 1556 that Nicolas Gombert had shown all musicians "the exact way to refinement". Finck claimed that Gombert had personally studied with the great Josquin Desprez, presumably in Josquin's final years at Condé-sur-l'Escaut; unfortunately, no independent confirmation of this master-pupil relationship exists, but Gombert's musical style of rich, pervasive imitation certainly builds upon the style of Josquin. His long service to the court chapel of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V allowed Gombert to travel widely and transmit this musical style across the bounds of Europe. With his contemporaries, Adrian Willaert and Jacob Clemens non Papa, Gombert brought the style of the musical Renaissance to fruition; even as late as 1610, no less a musician as Claudio Monteverdi selected a motet of Gombert upon which to base a mass setting in his bid to become Maestro di capella at Venice's San Marco.

Gombert was born somewhere in Southern Flanders; the village of La Gorgue has been suggested based upon the presence of other families named Gombert there. From roughly 1526 until around 1540, Nicolas served the court chapel of Emperor Charles V, travelling throughout Charles' vast realms in Flanders, Italy, Austria, Germany, and, of course, Spain. As of 1529, he fulfilled the position of maître des enfants in the Chapel. Charles, a fervent Catholic (and later one of the initiators of the Council of Trent), apparently encouraged the composition of masses and motets among his personal musicians, though Gombert also produced a large number of courtly French chansons. Gombert also honored his imperial patron with several commemorative motets celebrating events in Charles' life: the birth of a son, the coronation of his brother as King of Hungary, and an important international treaty. Gombert's service was partially remunerated by a series of ecclesiastical benefice incomes from churches at Courtrai, Béthune, Lens, and Metz.

Gombert's name abruptly vanishes from the imperial paylists in 1540; the mathematician Jerome Cardan records the reason as Gombert's sexual violation of one of the boys in his charge; he was sentenced to penal servitude in the galley of a warship. Apparently, he continued to compose, however, and is said to have written certain "swan songs" which helped avert the Emperor's ire, and earned his pardon. By 1547 – when he sent a letter and a motet to one of Charles' officers – he was residing in Tounai, where he eventually received a canonicate. He lived out his last years in peace at Tournai, dying some time between 1556 and 1561.

Timothy Dickey  (

See also

Nicolas Gombert: Motets, Vol. I – Beauty Farm (Download 44.1kHz/16bit)


Christmas with the Faces of Classical Music

Carlo Gesualdo: Sacrarum Cantionum Liber Primus a 5 voci – Oxford Camerata, Jeremy Summerly (Audio video)

Sacred Salterio: Lamentations of the Holy Week – Miriam Feuersinger, Il Dolce Conforto, Franziska Fleischanderl, Jonathan Pesek, Deniel Perer (Audio video)

Johannes Ockeghem: Missa L'homme armé, Missa quinti toni – Beauty Farm (Download 44.1kHz/16bit)

In the Midst of Life. Music from the Baldwin Partbooks I – Contrapunctus, Owen Rees (Audio video)

Antoine Busnoys: For the love of Jaqueline (Medieval love songs) – Sylvia Rhyne, Eric Redlinger (Audio video)

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