Secret History - Josquin / Victoria

John Potter

EN / DE
Tomas Luis de Victoria and Josquin Desprez were not contemporaries, they lived and worked in different countries, and perhaps shared little in terms of abstract compositional style. Yet throughout Europe, generations of musicians recognized them as kindred spirits, and tablature versions of their masses and motets circulated amongst lutenists. For John Potter, this is “the secret life of the music – in historical terms its real life.” In this characteristically creative project, Potter – joined by Trio Mediaeval singer Anna Maria Friman and three outstanding vihuela players – explores “what happens to music after it is composed.” The album, produced by Manfred Eicher, was recorded at the St Gerold monastery in the Austrian mountains, where Potter previously contributed to Officium and other recordings with the Hilliard Ensemble and with The Dowland Project.
Tomas Luis de Victoria und Josquin Desprez waren weder Zeitgenossen, noch lebten sie in denselben Ländern. Auch kompositorisch schienen sie wenig gemein zu haben. Doch in ganz Europa entdeckten Musiker ihre Geistesverwandtschaft, unter Lautenisten kursierten die Abschriften ihrer Messen und Motetten. John Potter findet: „Das heimliche Leben dieser Musik ­­– das ist in historischer Hinsicht ihr echtes Leben.“ In diesem für ihn typischen Projekt erkundet Potter mit Mediaeval-Sängerin Anna Maria Friman und drei herausragenden Vihuela-Spielern, „was mit der Musik nach ihrer Niederschrift passiert.“ Das Album, produziert von Manfred Eicher, wurde im Kloster St. Gerold in den österreichischen Bergen aufgezeichnet, wo Potter bereits zuvor Stücke für Officium und andere Alben – mit dem Hilliard Ensemble und mit dem Dowland Project – eingespielt hat.
Featured Artists Recorded

February 2012, Propstei St. Gerold

Original Release Date

25.08.2017

  • 1Nesciens mater
    (Traditional, Jean Mouton)
    03:19
  • 2Prelude I
    (Jacob Heringman)
    00:24
  • Missa Surge Propera
    (Traditional, Tomás Luis de Victoria)
  • 3Kyrie02:43
  • 4Prelude II
    (Jacob Heringman)
    00:31
  • Missa Surge Propera
    (Traditional, Tomás Luis de Victoria)
  • 5Gloria05:55
  • 6Prelude III
    (Jacob Heringman)
    00:22
  • Missa Surge Propera
    (Traditional, Tomás Luis de Victoria)
  • 7Credo10:24
  • 8Prelude IV
    (Jacob Heringman)
    00:25
  • Missa Surge Propera
    (Traditional, Tomás Luis de Victoria)
  • 9Sanctus01:52
  • 10Benedictus01:50
  • 11Prelude V
    (Jacob Heringman)
    00:26
  • Missa Surge Propera
    (Traditional, Tomás Luis de Victoria)
  • 12Agnus Dei03:25
  • 13Inviolata (Chant)
    (Traditional, Anonymous)
    01:18
  • 14Inviolata
    (Josquin Desprez)
    03:10
  • 15Absalon, fili mi
    (Traditional, Josquin Desprez)
    03:33
  • 16Obsecro te (Chant)
    (Traditional, Anonymous)
    00:37
  • 17Obsecro te
    (Josquin Desprez)
    05:41
  • 18Salve regina
    (Traditional, Josquin Desprez)
    06:39
  • 19Benedicta es (Chant)
    (Traditional, Anonymous)
    01:53
  • 20Benedicta es
    (Traditional, Josquin Desprez)
    06:07
  • 21Nymphes de Bois
    (Traditional, Josquin Desprez)
    04:28
  • 22O Magnum mysterium
    (Tomás Luis de Victoria)
    03:06
Josquin Desprez (c. 1450/1455-1521) and Tomás Luis de Victoria (c.1548-1611) lived and worked, for the most part, in different countries and perhaps shared little in terms of abstract compositional style. Yet throughout Europe, generations of musicians came to recognize them as kindred spirits, and tablature versions of their masses and motets circulated amongst lutenists. For John Potter, this is “the secret life of the music – in historical terms its real life.” In this characteristically creative project, Potter explores “what happens to music after it is composed.”
 
As John Potter explains in the liner notes: “We don’t usually think of Josquin being a major influence on Victoria, and for most modern listeners and performers, one is ‘early renaissance’ and the other is ‘late’. But the musicians of four hundred years ago made no such distinction: for them a new choral work by a great master was another source of inspirational material to add to the stream of music from many previous generations which they constantly re-invented. The music of their past was also the music of their present. The original manuscripts, commissioned for purely vocal performance in church, were quickly transformed by lute players into instrumental and vocal pieces that then took on a life of their own, constantly re-worked over many generations. (…) Time and geography meant very little to singers or players who could make the music their own in the moment.”
 
The project developed out of an idea by Potter and Ariel Abramovich to perform pared-down duet versions of Josquin’s motets, “in keeping with our belief that the pristine ‘early music’ a cappella performance of Franco-Flemish polyphony has misrepresented the way the music was mostly performed. This then evolved into a plan to use two vihuelas and two voices, so we asked Anna Maria Friman and Lee Santana.” Viola da gamba player Hille Perle attended the Josquin sessions in St Gerold, contributing to two pieces. For a session devoted to the music of Victoria, Jacob Heringman, another outstanding lutenist, was drafted in. Heringman also contributes five improvised preludes to the programme.
 
The quartet with Friman, Abramovich and Heringman subsequently became Potter’s new group, recording the album Amores Pasados in 2014, “bridging the gap between art song and pop song” and incorporating new lute songs written by John Paul Jones, Tony Banks and Sting, alongside pieces by Campion, Moeran and Peter Warlock. Press reactions were very positive, with The Arts Desk praising both the “sublime lute playing” of Ariel Abramovich and Jacob Heringman and the “pure, unaffected singing styles, perfectly matched” of John Potter and Anna Maria Friman. Potter himself – in an interview at website Jazz Views - has called this group “probably the most perfect ensemble I’ve worked with. We just breathe each other’s music.” (It has had of course, several very distinguished predecessors at ECM including The Dowland Project and the Hilliard Ensemble. Both of those groups also recorded, with Manfred Eicher producing, at the St Gerold monastery in the Austrian mountains.)