Intimacy, intensity, passion—this album explores the unfamiliar idea that fifteenth-century songs might cause us to sigh, weep, or laugh out loud. In bringing to life a world in which crying in public was not just acceptable but required, we have to take seriously the crushing despair of a line like “My only sorrow is that I am not dead,” or the undisguised sarcasm of “This is how she chopped and cooked me up.”
In Johannes Ockeghem’s roughly two-dozen songs we find not only unparalleled compositional prowess, but feelings that range from happiness to loss, anger to despair, and bitterness to merriment. The album’s all-vocal, fully texted, close-miked performances are rooted in a flexible vocal technique that aims to capture the music’s technical brilliance and emotional depth.
“Don’t pass up this monument of the early Renaissance. It is a highlight of the year.” –Fanfare