Gothic Voices: Echoes of an Old Hall

Echoes of an Old Hall
Music from the Old Hall Manuscript
Gothic Voices
Linn CKD644. 76’03

cover-CKD644

This magnificent recording from Gothic Voices takes a refreshing look at the much-recorded repertoire from the famous Old Hall Manuscript, the most substantial collection of English sacred music of the medieval period. It was compiled over several years leading up to c1420. The manuscript contains a number of examples of the influence of French composers on English music of the time. One example is the first piece on this recording, the wonderfully bouncy Arae post libamina / Nunc surgunt by Mayshuet de Joan, a French musician who spent some time in England in the mid 14th century.

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Leuven Chansonnier

Leuven Chansonnier Vol. 1
Sollazzo Ensemble, Anna Danilevskaia
Passacaille PAS1054. 62’02

The Leuven Chansonnier was discovered in 2015 when an art historian approached the Alamire Foundation with a tiny (120x85mm) music book. It turned out to be a previously unknown 15th-century book of chansons. It has been dated to around 1475, and probably originated in the Loire Valley. It was purchased by the King Baudouin Foundation and loaned to the Alamire Foundation in Leuven. As there is no indication of original ownership or provenance, it has been called the Leuven Chansonnier. It contains fifty compositions, a Latin Ave Regina by Walter Frye and 59 French chansons, many of which were recognised as being by leading 15th-century Franco-Flemish composers such as Johannes Ockeghem. There are twelve previously unknown works, eight of which are included on this CD. Continue reading

Dufay: Lament for Constantinople

Guillaume Dufay
Lament for Constantinople & other songs
The Orlando Consort
Hyperion CDA68236. 70’48

Music, and indeed most art forms, that comes on the cusp of a change in style can be amongst the most fascinating as composers, artists, and architects search out new approaches to their art. The music of Guillaume Dufay represents one such boundary, in his case, that between the Medieval and Renaissance periods. Although substantially Medieval in style, with its complex rhythmic structures and the curious Medieval habit of combining several texts in the same piece, often in different languages, there are clear elements of the forthcoming Renaissance style in Dufay’s music. This impressive recording by The Orlando Consort demonstrates this aspect of his music well in a sequence of 18 tracks, 12 in Rondeau form, 3 Ballades, 2 multi-texted Motets and a single Virelai. Continue reading