Since I've just posted a review of this CD's companion volume Crecquillon, Vol. 1: Missa Domine Deus; Motets I won't repeat most of those comments here. This, then, is Volume 2 of a fine and enterprising two-part project, and the two discs together form a splendid introduction to the work of Thomas Crecquillon - one of the finest, as well as most acclaimed and prolific, of that remarkable post-Josquin generation of Franco-Flemish composers.
Once again the main work in the programme is a parody mass, 'Missa D'ung petit mot', this time based on a lost secular chanson. But this is a Mass in a very different manner from the 'Missa Domine Deus omnipotens' of the first disc. It is more homophonic, declamatory in style, and rich in simple, attractive melody; clearly the model chanson must have been a simple but lovely piece. Interestingly, the treatment of the Credo passage 'et resurrexit' is similar to that in the other Mass, with the lower voices leading to fine effect. The Mass here is followed by seven motets, all of them of very high quality with my own favourite being the 6-part 'Respice, quaesumus, Domine', one of the richest and most affecting works I've heard from this marvellous composer. As in Volume 1, the Choir of the Church of the Advent, Boston, Massachusetts, do a splendid job under the inspired direction of Edith Ho. Their performances throughout are polished, carefully considered and thoroughly prepared; they form a fine collection of voices, singing generally with 3 or 4 voices per part, and are clearly well versed in Renaissance style.
However, perhaps because of the choice and arrangement of this programme, I did find a certain sameness of sound and pace creeping into the latter part of this disc as the motets succeeded one another - something that was certainly not the case in Volume 1. Maybe it's best taken in smaller doses. But don't be put off, because this is still splendid music and forms an excellent complement to that of the first volume. Again, the recorded sound - in the choir's own Boston church - is good except for some low-level rumble, most noticeable during pauses. Booklet notes are useful, and all texts and translations are provided.
Altogether this is a fascinating and beautiful pair of discs, and the choir and its director have performed a valuable service by making a substantial selection of Crecquillon's music available to early-music fans. Both discs are also available directly from Arsis Audio's own website.