I see that only one copy of this CD is availabale, used for $50.00. Bummer! A review at this point isn't worth much to Chanticleer. I've refrained from reviewing the performances of Chanticleer because of a conflict of interest. Louis Botto, the founder of the choir, was a close personal friend until his untimely death. He had already withdrawn from singing when this recording was made in 1992 but he was still acting as artistic director. Several other singers heard on this disk were also friends, but by now, in 2008, the list of voices has changed almost totally. I pulled this CD off the shelf to revisit as many of Josquin's masses as I could. The point I want to make is to affirm what an excellent performance Chanticleer produced!
The Missa Mater Patris is unusual in Josquin's canon of masses in having more and longer passages of 'homophonic' chordal singing - that is, singing with all the voices moving together on the same words. Some muiscologists have disputed the authenticity of the mass as Josquin's work, although it was published as such in Petrucci's third edition of Josquin in 1514. I see no reason why a listener shouldn't enjoy this artful composition, whether Josquin wrote it or not. Chanticleer takes advantage of the homophonic texture with their full-voiced choral approach, a rich, resonant in-the-cathedral sound.
The CD also includes the chanson mater patris et fils, by Brumel, which 'somebody' employed as the tenor for the mass, plus four motets by Alexander Agricola, a contemprary of Josquin. Agricola and Josquin make an effective pairing, with Josquin's serene melody balanced by Agricola's intricacy and whimsy. Chanticleer sings Agricola differently, as well they should, articulating those zippy rhythms and irregular phrases clearly, and maximizing the drama of Agricola's shifts in mood by greater variety of dynamics than most choirs attempt when singing polyphony. This performance was well rehearsed, and one can hear the fact!
Chanticleer is a touring chorus, wending its way from venue to venue across America, bringing Renaissance and modern music to people who don't usually experience it. The group deserves appreciation and recognition. Louis Botto, if he were alive, would have reason to be proud of his accomplishment.