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The Unknown Lover: Songs by Solage and Machaut
Robert MacDonald, Julian Podger, Leigh Nixon
The Unknown Lover: Songs by Solage and Machaut
Genres: Pop, Classical


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All Artists: Robert MacDonald, Julian Podger, Leigh Nixon, Stephen Harrold
Title: The Unknown Lover: Songs by Solage and Machaut
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Avie
Original Release Date: 1/1/2006
Re-Release Date: 12/5/2006
Album Type: Import
Genres: Pop, Classical
Styles: Vocal Pop, Opera & Classical Vocal, Forms & Genres, Ballads, Rondos, Historical Periods, Baroque (c.1600-1750), Early Music
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 822252208924

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CD Reviews

Beautiful and inspired performances of 14th century art musi
Eddie Konczal | 01/25/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Guillaume de Machaut (1300-1377) dominated 14th Century music and was the leading practitioner of the French "Ars Nova," a movement that made radical advances in the composition of polyphony and set the stage for the musical flowering of the Renaissance. Machaut's protégé Solage mastered the highly complex "ars subtilior" style that represented the final musical innovation of the Medieval era. On this recording, both composers' secular works come to life through beautiful and inspired performances by the early music vocal consort Gothic Voices.

"The Unknown Lover" turns a spotlight on Solage, a rather mysterious figure from the late 14th century. Solage's known output consists of some dozen secular songs found in the legendary Chantilly Codex (c. 1400), all of which are performed here. Gothic Voices rounds out the repertoire with seven Machaut songs. While Machaut and Solage were not contemporaries, the former clearly influenced the latter, and their works complement each other well in this collection.

Fourteenth century art music may sound quite strange to modern ears. The best of these works possess an enchanting beauty made all the more mysterious by the passing of the centuries. Lacking the harmonic sophistication and metric rigor of the Renaissance, many of these late Medieval compositions nonetheless achieve fairly sophisticated polyphony, highlighted by engaging, florid melodies and adventurous rhythmic figures.

Adding to the allure of these songs is the lovely voice of Catherine King, who makes even the simplest passages sound divinely inspired. King's rich vocals soar on the exquisite Solage compositions "En l'amourex vergier" and "Tres gentil cuer," and on the melismatic monophony of Machaut's ballade "Dame, se vous m'estes lonteinne." King shares the spotlight with her male colleagues (Steven Harrold, Julian Podger, Leigh Nixon and Stephen Charlesworth), who rise to the occasion on Solage's lively "Le basile," Machaut's subdued "Mors sui, se je ne vous voy," and Solage's rather bizarre, experimental "Fumeux fume par fume," a textbook example of "ars subtilior" style whose appeal is more academic than aural.

Gothic Voices are renowned on the early music circuit for their performances of Medieval and early Renaissance music. "The Unknown Lover" establishes them as a premier interpreter of Solage, and will undoubtedly bolster their already impressive reputation.