"I leave it to the scholars to assess the accuracy or representativeness of the collected works; aesthetically, it rose to top-notch. The alternation of style engaged our intellect, and Rice’s essay enriched the experience. The immaculate execution positively glowed. Within the constraints of the genre and time, the Ensemble worked with a wide-ranging palette: the “Nu freut euch” of Walter especially radiant, the delivery of the Gospel (John 12:31-36, “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out”) dark and heavy. With no more than two voices to a part, the intimate chapel at Old South swelled with gorgeously proportioned sound. The singers projected dramatically, and fully realized complexities in all their horizontality and verticality. Soothing but not lulling, richly textured while tasteful and understated, this deep immersion in Luther’s realm fully satisfied."  — Brian Schuth, The Boston Musical Intelligencer,  September 18, 2017 [Link to full review]

Excerpts from Reviews of "Luther's Deutsche Messe," September, 2017

Reviews

"With their clean, pure tones and taut harmonies, the ensemble of eight a cappella singers, led by Ensemble Origo’s director, Eric Rice, offered a vivid and moving account of early-Lutheran adoration. ... The four selections by Josquin were the clear standout of the evening, with the ensemble executing the complex, textured polyphony with seeming ease. The singers created a balanced and elegant vocal blend while also masterfully executing the composer’s florid, ornamented lines. The “Sanctus” was especially moving, as soprano Sarah Moyer’s light, shimmering tone floated above the group with angelic lyricism. ...  All in all, the performance was fairly brief; however, in that short time, the Ensemble Origo not only offered a superb performance of sublime early music, they succeeded in resurrecting the past in a uniquely ear-opening way."  — "Liturgical Time Machine: Ensemble Origo performs Luther's Deutsche Messe," by Christopher Browner, Academy of Sacred Drama Journal, September 20, 2017 [Link to full review]

Excerpt from Review of "Motets, Madrigals, and Moresche" (soon to be released as a recording entitled "Le Nozze in Baviera – Orlando di Lasso's Music for the Wedding of Wilhelm V to Renata of Lorraine") 

"There was little lofty poetry among the texts, save for a setting of a stanza of Petrarch’s 'Canzoniere,' 'If my weary lines can fly so high as to reach her,' set in elegant five-part harmony and performed with cool poise and accuracy by the Origo singers. But that text only threw into relief the bawdiness of the surrounding material, most of which might be summed up under the title 'If my leering lines can swoop so low as to breach her.'  ... The Origo singers, capably led by the ensemble’s director, Eric Rice, and sometimes accompanied on period instruments by a fine, flexible ensemble, for the most part maintained straight faces and a clean, almost prudish, style. One might have wished for a greater differentiation between the chiffony sound with which they sang the beautiful Te Deum and the one they brought to commedia dell’arte numbers like 'Matona, mia cara,' a ribald sendup of a German lancer (nudge, nudge) who applies all his nation’s proverbial diligence and phonetic inflexibility to the task of serenading an Italian lady."  — "Review: Ensemble Origo, Doing the Lowbrow with Dignity," by Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, The New York Times, October 9, 2015 [Link to full review]

“Luther himself had a strong musical connection, and I determined to use the 2017 milestone to try to come to terms with this side of him through reading and listening. To prepare for my pilgrimage to Minnesota, I attended several Reformation concerts in New York. An especially fine one in September, by the Connecticut-based Ensemble Origo, offered a hypothetical reconstruction of Luther’s German Mass of about 1530, built on a ‘Missa de Beata Virgine’ by Josquin des Prez, one of his favorite composers.” —James Oestreich, "500 Years Later, the Reformation Is Still Creating Music," The New York Times, November 23, 2017  [Link to article]

© 2018 Ensemble Origo, Inc.

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