The Portal November 2016 - Page 23

THE P RTAL November 2016 Page 23 Letter to the Editor From Dr Richard Lawes I would certainly echo the opinion of your correspondent in the October issue, who advises against being drawn into unhelpful conflicts with the Catholic bishops of England and Wales. I would, however, disagree with the suggestion that anyone may need to be told that we are ‘not so attached’ to our Divine Worship liturgy. Roman Rite within the Ordinariate, but many of us delight in and appreciate the Ordinariate liturgy. Dr Richard Lawes Lecturer Regent’s Park College Oxford The views expressed in these letters are not necessarily those of the Editors Nobody is prevented from using the standard Letters for publication should be sent to: The Editors, The Portal, 56 Woodlands Farm Road, Birmingham B24 0PG editors@portalmag.co.uk Music Review Pierre de la Rue: Missa Nuncqua fue pena mayor and Missa Inviolata The Brabant Ensemble, Stephen Rice (conductor) Robert Macneil’s CD of the month Pierre de la Rue (c. 1452-1518) was a Franco-Flemish composer and singer of the Renaissance, a member of the same generation as Josquin des Prez, and a long associate of the Habsburg-Burgundian musical chapel. Despite being less well known than others of his time, he ranks amongst the most famous and influential composers in the Netherlands polyphonic style in the decades around 1500. It is believed that de la Rue was born at Tournai, on the river Scheldt, in the province of Hainaut in modern Belgium. Along with Tongeren, Tournai is the oldest city in Belgium and it has played an important role in the country’s cultural history. De la Rue may have been the son of Jean de la Rue, a master enlumineur (one who decorates or illustrates a text, usually a manuscript) of the town of Tournai. It is likely that de la Rue was educated at the Notre-Dame Cathedral there, which had a substantial musical establishment. A ‘Peter van der Straten’ (the Flemish equivalent of his name) is mentioned in the archives of the Cathedral of St Michael and St Gudula in Brussels in 1469-1470, as an adult (tenor) singer. His name is later mentioned as being a part-time singer at performances of polyphony in Ghent at the Jacobskerk, and as being employed in Nieuwpoort in 1472, at the church of Onze-Lieve-Vrouw. In 1489 he was employed by the Confraternity of the Illustre Lieve Vrouwe in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, literally “The Forest” in English, a city and municipality in the southern Netherlands, the capital of the province of North Brabant. He had come from Cologne to take up this appointment, having spent some time in Germany as a tenor singer. He remained at the Confraternity in ‘s-Hertogenbosch until 1492, at which time he simultaneously became a full member of the Confraternity, and joined the Grande Chapelle of Holy Roman Emperor Maxmilian. He was to remain in the employ of the Habsburgs, and the Grande Chapelle, until his death on 20th November 1518. De la Rue wrote Masses, Motets, Magnificats, settings of the Lamentations, and Chansons, a diverse range of compositions reflective of his status as the primary composer at one of Europe’s most renowned musical institutions. This recording features de la Rue’s Missa Nuncqua fue pena mayor, an earlier composition, and the Missa Inviolata, composed in 1503. They are performed by the Brabant Ensemble who have been described as ‘perhaps England’s most accomplished interpreters of Renaissance sacred music’. They certainly live up to that description in this excellent recording from Hyperion. Pierre de la Rue (c. 1452-1518): Missa Nuncqua fue pena mayor & Missa Inviolata - The Brabant Ensemble, Stephen Rice (conductor) - Hyperion Records - CDA68150 - www.hyperion-records.co.uk