Interesting but flawed older recording
S. Gustafson | New Albany, IN USA | 12/16/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is an interesting but flawed older recording of these mediæval classics.
Performance practices of this repertoire have changed dramatically since this record was made in 1960-61. Most voices in the Machaut Mass are doubled by what appear to be modern wind and brass instruments; this is not annoying in itself, but it occasionally seems as if additional parts have been added by the instrumentalists, so what you are getting is rather a modern impression of Machaut, rather than what Machaut himself wrote. No doubt -any- performance of Machaut probably sounded strange in 1960, but it seems as if the Deller Consort was initially unwilling to stand on its own.
The situation with the organum performances on the record is much the same. The rhythmic nature of the music is strongly emphasized. Some are performed by instrumentalists before the voices come in. Occasionally --- esp. on "Dic, Christi veritas" --- the effect is striking. At other times you will feel as if you have gone to church with the Wicked Witch of the West's beefeaters.
The performance itself is quite good; but further study has changed the standard performance practice of this music since then, and the early music revival has made more authentic instruments available when their use is desired."