Label: Deutsche Grammophon - 457 618-2,Archiv Produktion - 457 618-2 • Format: CD Album • Country: Germany • Genre: Classical • Style: Medieval
Machaut: Chansons by the Orlando Consort in Archiv Production's Al Fresco series -- a series of reissues to celebrate Archiv's 60th anniversary He! Dame De Valour - Machaut* - Orlando Consort - Dreams In The Pleasure Garden - Chansons was originally issued in as Dreams in the Pleasure Garden.
This new edition is emblazoned with a blurb from the magazine Gramophone that "Nothing quite like this has happened before; a disc devoted entirely to Machaut's songs, all performed with voices alone. Nor were the older groups' command of Machaut's archaic form of French necessarily as well handled, not even by French groups.
The monophonic song "Liement me deport" is just that; sung by a solo singer without drones or other distractions from the purity of Machaut's melodic line, it's a good way into this project as a whole. This program contains 14 of Machaut's chansons, generally adjudged the finest extant from the fourteenth century and among the earliest examples of purely secular polyphonic music.
All but one of the chansons is based on courtly texts that alternatively praise and damn the Rapture - Various - Dance Divas lady" variously for her sweet nature, capriciousness, pleasing graces, and seeming predisposition toward evil.
The one exception is the famous "Ma fin est mon commencement" My end is my beginning in which the text spells out the palindromic form of the composition itself. Machaut's artfulness is part of his great appeal, and achieving an understanding of that is a good deal easier through his secular chansons than in his great sacred works such as the Messe de Nostre Dame or in the confusion of his multi-texted motets. Even two-part Machaut chansons, however, can sound busy, and no other aspect of his output contains more of Machaut's most complicated harmonic business than the chansons.
Listeners new to late medieval music He! Dame De Valour - Machaut* - Orlando Consort - Dreams In The Pleasure Garden - Chansons try Machaut: Chansons in short braces of tracks at first to get a feel for his oblique harmonies and rolling rhythms, rather than ingesting it all at once, lest you come down with a case of polyphonic ague.
In terms of interpretation, Godless - Sepultura - Roorback could hardly make a better choice for this music than the Orlando Consort, as it concentrates strongly on clarity of delivery of his polyphonic lines and agreement of vocal blending; text painting is nonexistent in Machaut, so projection of emotions that Right And Exact - DJ Sket* - Tape 2 to the content of a given chanson isn't an issue.
The recording, made at the medieval St. The obvious disadvantage to this very minimal, though comparatively less expensive, reissue package is the lack of texts or notes inside, though that doesn't mean one cannot access them at all; underneath the CD a link is provided on the web where one may print a page.
While the rather bulky sheaf of papers one accumulates in this fashion may not be the most convenient method to get at the information -- and in Machaut's case, access to the texts is rather important -- the printout you get is at least easy to read.
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