The Missa Faulte d’argent emerges as a major work in this, its first complete recording. With the inclusion of a selection of motets (also in first recordings), the present programme marks an important addition to our understanding and appreciation of this prolific figure.
Those familiar with the repertoire recorded by The Brabant Ensemble will be aware that we have only rarely returned to a composer, if only because so much Renaissance music of high quality still remains unheard. A second helping of Mouton did seem called for, however, in commemoration of the quincentenary of his death on 30 October 1522. Mouton’s output is comparable in size to Josquin’s, at least in terms of sacred music, and in this recording (as well as our previous Mouton album, CDA67933) we aim to showcase its quality and variety: with the exception of one Mass movement, all the pieces here are first recordings.
Mouton’s career can briefly be summarized as follows. His childhood was probably spent in or around Samer in the Pas-de-Calais, where he must have been born by the late 1450s. The epithet ‘Mouton’ was one among many nicknames applied to church musicians, his toponym according to a now lost headstone in Saint-Quentin being ‘de Hollingue’, most likely referring to a village north of Samer. He was recorded as working in Nesle, some 150km southeast of his birthplace, in the late 1470s, and held other positions in northwest France until the end of the century, most notably as master of the choristers at Amiens Cathedral. Following a brief sojourn in the somewhat unlikely surroundings of Grenoble, Mouton found himself at the royal court in Paris from 1502, remaining there until his death twenty years later.
“The usual excellent scholarship and liner notes from director Stephen Rice illuminate interpretations of exceptional clarity, certainly among their finest, with lively, sonorous, lean and healthy sound, and playful interplay of vocal lines. — Choir & Organ, September 2022
“Mouton, like so many composers too easily categorised as Josquinian aftershocks, comes to life in the hands of The Brabant Ensemble and the results are eye-opening. – Gramophone Magazine September 2022