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Peter Loewen
American Record Guide, June 2001

" This is a very generous offering of the sacred music of the Renaissance master Pierre de la Rue (c 1460-1518), one of the leading composers of the Franco-Flemish school. Like the other composers of this circle, he divided his career between Italy and the Netherlands; but after 1489 he appears to have remained in the north, working as a singer and composer at the Hertogenbosch Cathedral and at the Hapsburg court of Burgundy. His music was held in great esteem by his patrons, especially Maximilian I and his daughter Marguerite of Austria. Indeed, these two masses were so popular that Maximilian had them copied into several lavish manuscripts.

The motets and masses on this release exhibit characteristics similar to contemporaries such as Josquin, Compere, Brumel, Obercht, and Agricola. The large sample of Delarue's music here allows one to compare his genius with these other famous composers. Like them, he relies on the point of imitation to organize his ideas. But in general his polyphonic writing is more persistently driven by imitative counterpoint and canons than are the works of Josquin. In his mature works, Josquin creates contrasts in his music by juxtaposing passages of polyphony with homo-rhythmic (chordal) sections. Delarue, on the other hand, varies his music by contrasting passages with the full ensemble. As a result, the textures of his masses and motets create the illusion of perpetual motion. There are very few internal cadences in this music but many wonderful cascades of imitative writing. In this he seems to emulate more the style of his immediate predecessors, especially Johannes Ockeghem.

The notes that accompany the recording offer a succinct introduction to the music. Texts and translations."

Anthony Pryer
BBC Music Magazine, October 2000

"The 'deserve-to-be-better-known' group of composers is a large one, populated by countless rather tiresome strugglers. But Pierre de la Rue (d 1518) is a genuine exception. His breathtaking music was mainly composed for a string of Burgundian-Hapsburg rulers including Marguerite of Austria and the Holy Roman Emperor Maxmillian. This is complex and deeply expressive music. The Easter Mass is paced well with a clear sense of the overall architecture, with some fine individual singing in the 'Benedictus qui vent' section of the Sanctus."

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