Commemorating Anne of Brittany (2014)

This post was created on February 22, 2014

Concert 1: Saturday 22 February 2014 at 8 pm
Xavier College Chapel, Barkers Rd, Kew

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When Anne of Brittany, uniquely the wife of two successive French kings, as well as Duchess of Brittany in her own right, died on 9 January 1514, her funeral lasted for forty days. Such an extended ceremony must have involved a lot of music, though only the three motets presented here can be identified with certainty. Nevertheless it is generally accepted that Prioris’s fine Requiem was also written for the occasion.


Jean Mouton
Quis dabit oculis nostris
Pierre Moulu
Fière Attropos
Costanzo Festa
Quis dabit oculis nostris
Josquin Desprez
De profundis
Johannes Prioris

Introitus: Requiem aeternam
Graduale: Si ambulum
Sequentia: Dies irae
(Gregorian chant)
Offertorium: Domine Jesu Christe
Agnus Dei
Communio: Lux aeterna



Carol Veldhoven
Deborah Summerbell
Maria Pisani
Claerwen Jones
Kathryn Pisani
Belinda Wong
Yi Wen Chin
Niki Ebacioni
Miranda Gronow
Peter Campbell
Tim van Nooten
Vaughan McAlley
Stuart Tennant
Andrew Murray
Thomas Bland
Christopher Potter
Michael Strasser
Jerzy Kozlowski



Tuesday, 25 Febrary 2014, The Age [Melbourne], n.p.
Ensemble Gombert in fine renditions of funeral music for Anne of Brittany

Clive O’Connell

Commemorating Anne Of Brittany
Ensemble Gombert
Xavier College Chapel
February 22

When she died in 1514 aged 31, Duchess Anne of Brittany had been married to a German emperor and two French kings and had had 14 pregnancies. The last independent ruler of her state, she was a notable arts patron and her funeral rites lasted for 40 days, involving a good deal of music, although very few original compositions for these ceremonies have been documented.

For Saturday’s opening Ensemble Gombert series recital, artistic director John O’Donnell put together a program of works, both definites and maybes, connected with this remarkable woman’s extended obsequies, the most significant a Requiem by Johannes Prioris. This mass reveals an honest individuality and the choir gave it a finely-shaped performance with a satisfying balance between soprano and bass lines, notably in the rich Kyrie and a calmly celebratory Agnus Dei, although the well-worn plainchant Dies irae sequence seemed an odd if suitably sombre interpolation.

Two settings of the text Quis dabit oculis nostris, by Jean Mouton and Costanzo Festa, showed once again the Gomberts’ hallmarks of linear balance and controlled power. This was further substantiated by a glowing reading of Josquin’s late five-part De profundis with an interpretative depth that distinguishes this ensemble’s work at its best.
Clive O’Connell/Courtesy of The Age

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