, January 2009
With its radiant presentation of the opening Kyrie, the Missa Entre vous filles is Lassus at this freshest and most telling, and the Sanctus is particularly beautiful. The Missa Susanne un jour, however, is more ambitious, based on what Jeremy Summerly describes as ‘the most famous song of the 16th century—the l’homme arme of its day’. Moreover, as it deals with the Apocryphal Susanna who was accused of wanton behaviour by two elders after she had spurned their sexual advances, this was just the sort of parody model that had caused the Council of Trent to be upset, two decades earlier. However, it inspired Lassus to his richest polyphony, and many of his celebrants may not have been aware of the implications of the original chanson’s text. The motet, Infelix ego, is a somber yet very touching meditation on Psalm 51, the words of which seem appropriate under the circumstances: ‘Unhappy I, of all help bereft, who, against heaven and earth have offended’. The 12 voices of the Oxford Camerata under Jeremy Summerly are beautifully blended here, and they sing with dedication and feeling throughout. Excellent recording. A bargain.