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‘…this gloriously performed disc from the eight male voices of the pure-toned Binchois Consort. Contrasting motets and mass propers, works of sublime clarity, are rewardingly interspersed. Who knows – or cares – whether it’s even faintly authentic. The results are mesmerising’ (The Observer)

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SKU: CDA67715 Category: Tags: , , , ,

Description

The Binchois Consort’s first recordings of Dufay for Hyperion achieved iconic status, winning a Gramophone award along the way. Despite the proliferation of early music groups recording Dufay in their wake, the Binchois remain the ultimate musical authority on this great composer.

Their latest recording contains what many consider to be Dufay’s masterpiece. His Missa Se la face ay pale is one of the best known, and perhaps most revered, of all polyphonic masses. Indeed, it is a work of such renown that it enjoys a special kind of status among Renaissance mass cycles. Along with a handful of other such works, it has become a touchstone for the idea and structural design of the unified cantus firmus mass, a classic exemplification of the musical style and achievement of an era. The work is presented here, however, not as a five-movement sequence but in a more differentiated and perhaps more appropriate dramatic fashion, interspersed with music in a contrasting style for the Proper of the Mass (also five movements: Introit, Gradual, Alleluia, Offertory, Communion). The programme is completed by two motets and the ballade on which the Mass is based.

This recording evokes in sound something of the cultural achievement and brilliance of the Court of Savoy at its first peak of maturity, during the middle decades of the fifteenth century. The musical works performed here complement and enrich the historical picture of the late-medieval and Renaissance duchy that can be gleaned from the archives, libraries and museums. Live sound vividly extends and deepens the scope of such a picture, just as does an appreciation of the geographical and architectural settings which are the physical stage for such cultural developments.

Digital booklet (PDF)

Reviews

  1. ‘Se la face ay pale remains Dufay’s most approchable mass … this is easy, effortless musicianship … the balance is superb, and all lines are presented in a free and supple manner that projects the music very well’ (Gramophone)

    ‘Dufay was one of the greatest composers of the 15th century … half a dozen recordings of Dufay’s Missa Se la face are available but Kirkman’s sweeps the board … performances of great clarity, pliancy and historical value … a confirming display of excellence and insight’ (BBC Music Magazine)

    ‘Dufay’s Missa Se la face ay pale provides the backbone for this gloriously performed disc from the eight male voices of the pure-toned Binchois Consort. Contrasting motets and mass propers, works of sublime clarity, are rewardingly interspersed … the results are mesmerising’ (The Observer)

    ‘The singers more than adequately realise their stated aim of bringing the opulent Court of Savoy to life … the singing on the CD is mellifluous and animated, the pronunciation authentic … and both the liturgical context and the confidence of the performance make this a valuable addition to our understanding of Dufay’s output’ (Early Music Review)

    ‘This ensemble has now recorded five masses credited to Dufay, an achievement of considerable stature … as well as giving a fine rendition of the music, Kirkman’s Dufay disc also adds relevant music to broaden our understanding of the period’ (Fanfare, USA)