The œuvre of Johannes Ockeghem influenced, indeed directly inspired a considerable number of musicians who were contemporary with or came immediately after the Master of Tours. Many of these talented composers took one of his works as a model, thus bearing eloquent testimony to their admiration for him. All of them visited him and helped to popularise the image of him as a benevolent ‘father figure’ to this amazing caste of singers and composers.
Ockeghem’s death at a ripe old age in 1497 greatly affected the brilliant generation that was in the process of making the transition between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and naturally led to the creation of some deeply moving music. Four motets covering a wide stylistic range, a complete polyphonic mass and an extraordinary poem of lamentation make up this touching tribute to Johannes Ockeghem from his colleagues and friends. The works assembled on this album represent the highpoint of Franco-Flemish counterpoint and illustrate the imperceptible shift from Middle Ages to Renaissance thanks to this sublime music sublimated by the death of the great master. They are sung here according to the tradition of the great cathedrals and collegiate churches: a cappella, with one or two singers to a part as the works require.