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Harmonia Early Music

Two Requiems

Cappella Pratensis strikes again with Ockeghem / de la Rue!

Cappella Pratensis (2011).

The requiems by Johannes Ockeghem and Pierre de la Rue are the earliest known polyphonic examples of the genre.  Given that the medieval church had strict rules against musical embellishment for rites of mourning, it is a wonder that they were composed and even more a wonder that they have survived.

The Dutch-based Cappella Pratensis, whose director is Stratton Bull, released a recording of these two requiems on the Harmonia Mundi label in 2012.

Ockeghem’s setting is striking in that it contains mostly 2- and 3-part writing with a maximum of four parts, but requires at least six voices to cope with the various voice ranges.  Some wonder whether its unique source represents a work in progress.

Pierre’s requiem seems more unified stylistically. It bears an interesting connection to Ockeghem, since Pierre uses its opening as the basis for another piece that is possibly a lament on Ockeghem’s death.

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Wendy Gillespie

Wendy Gillespie, Director of the Bloomington Bach Cantata Project, is Professor Emerita of Music at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University and Past President of the Viola da Gamba Society of America. In 2011 she was awarded Early Music America’s Thomas Binkley Award, and in 2012 a Wellesley College Alumnae Achievement Award. She continues to enjoy her career as a performing musician, having made more than 100 recordings and performed on five continents. Wendy began working with Harmonia in January 2012.

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