Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Guillaume de Machaut, Orlando Consort|
Dreams in the Pleasure Garden
Genres: Pop, Classical
Just when you think you know somebody, some uncharacteristic behavior shows itself and you instantly realize that you have more to learn. Such an enlightening occurrence is bound to happen for listeners to this disc accust... more »
Just when you think you know somebody, some uncharacteristic behavior shows itself and you instantly realize that you have more to learn. Such an enlightening occurrence is bound to happen for listeners to this disc accustomed to hearing the "memorable tunes, regular phrasing, and clear harmony" of Machaut's most commonly performed works. Here, the four-member Orlando Consort--alto, two tenors, and baritone--happily and with masterful ease introduce us to the "other" Machaut, one of irregular phrases, lively syncopated rhythms, and long flowing melodies that interact contrapuntally with two or three other vocal lines. The melodic structure often consists of cleverly intertwined strings of suspensions followed by quick resolutions, giving a jumpy impetus to many lengthy passages and entire songs. Among these 14 secular songs are many beautiful poetic texts and some notable melodies, but, interestingly, Machaut didn't attempt to fit music with textual meaning. For us, it remains just to listen--and perhaps to read the words separately--and we are rewarded with some of the 14th century's most sensuous, intriguing, and exotic music. --David Vernier
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Giordano Bruno | Wherever I am, I am. | 09/26/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The Orlando Consort is Number One in my books - the very best vocal consort recording Renaissance and Medieval music today. Their CDs of John Dunstaple and Antoine Busnois set the gold standard for performance of polyphony. Thus I was quite excited when this recording was reissued. But the disappointment has been proportionate to the expectations.
A fatally flawed performance decision ruins this CD. These ballades, virelais, and rondos - not all merely chansons in a formal sense - are settings by Guillaume de Machaut of his own poetry. Machaut carefully "archived" his own works in a meticulous manuscript, for which reason we have more of his music than of any other 14th C composer. If any composer's 'intentions' should be respected, it is Machaut. Unfortunately, the Orlandos have chosen to sing the text only on one line of the three or four intertwining polyphonic parts. The other lines are vocalized on vowels. Even when sung in excellent tuning by beautiful voices, the result is a lot of hooting and swooping, totally without the rhythmic crunches of consonants that make Machaut lively. I'd be willing to take up a subscription to send the Orlandos back to the recording studio to do it right!"