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En Albion: Medieval Polyphony in England

Huelgas Ensemble

Classical - Released July 2, 2021 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
Making the most of the vocal and stylistic near-perfection of his Huelgas Ensemble, Paul van Nevel explores English polyphony between 1300 and 1400. The authors of this late medieval music are unknown, as these pieces have come down to us anonymously, unlike many works on the continent, whose composers are known and often highly revered. But in spite of the anonymity, this material which was written around the time of the Hundred Years' War had a great influence on the music of those distant times. The dozen sacred and secular a capella pieces presented here come from various sources preserved in the United States (New York), England (London, Oxford, Durham) and France (Tours, Chantilly). With their strange chromaticism and extreme, complicated modulations, the composers of Albion paved the way for a new musical style. This new album consists of mostly unknown and unrecorded pieces that add to the knowledge of an era that is still largely undiscovered. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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As Festas Do Anno (Cantigas 13th c. & traditional songs for the feasts of the year)

Cantaderas

Classical - Released September 4, 2020 | Arion

Booklet
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A Late Medieval Mass on the Rysum Organ

Lorenzo Ghielmi

Classical - Released April 24, 2020 | Passacaille

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
In the German village of Rysum, in East Frisia, a precious instrument is preserved: an ancient organ, built in 1442/1513, which still has most of the original pipes. Lorenzo Ghielmi and the vocal ensemble Biscantores present a sort of “organ Mass”, where organ pieces and liturgical chant alternate according to the practice of the time. A journey between the late Middle Ages and the dawn of the Renaissance - this is how you could describe this musical programme, set up in collaboration with the musicologist Konrad Küster, which perfectly illustrates the unique sounds of this instrument. © Passacaille
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Firenze 1350, un jardin médiéval florentin

Anna Danilevskaia

Classical - Released March 27, 2020 | Ambronay Éditions

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
Anna Danilevskaia and her acolytes plunge us into the heart of Florence in 1350. It is said that on a hot morning of the year 1389, in a Florentine garden, Francesco degli Organi, famous organetto virtuoso, accepted a bet: he had to silence the birds by the beauty of his organ playing. Also a composer, this multi-instrumentalist was acclaimed throughout the city of Florence not only for his musical prowess but also for his rhetoric skils and philosophical views. A perfect representative of incipient humanism, better known today as Francesco Landini, together with fellow composers such as Lorenzo da Firenze, Andrea Stefani and Giovanni da Firenze, was to bring the music of their time to its apogee. A bewitching vocal and instrumental journey during which you can discover or rediscover the music of these great Florentine masters of he Middle Ages. © Ambronay Editions
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Lost Voices of Hagia Sophia (Medieval Byzantine Chant)

Cappella Romana

International Pop - Released November 29, 2019 | Cappella Romana

Hi-Res Booklet
Lost Voices of Hagia Sophia is the first vocal album in the world to be recorded entirely in live virtual acoustics. It brings together art history, music history, performance, and technology to re-create medieval sacred sound in the cathedral of Hagia Sophia as an aural virtual reality. With a stunning reverberation time of over 11 seconds, the acoustics of Hagia Sophia were measured and analyzed, and auralized in real-time on Cappella Romana’s performance by the Icons of Sound team at Stanford University (iconsofsound.stanford.edu). Lost Voices of Hagia Sophia presents more than 75 minutes of medieval Byzantine chant for the Feast of the Holy Cross in Constantinople, one of the greatest celebrations in the yearly cycle of worship at Hagia Sophia. © Cappella Romana
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Messes de Barcelone et d'Apt

Ensemble Gilles Binchois

Classical - Released May 31, 2019 | Evidence

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice
After 40 years of activities, more than 50 recordings and some 1000 concerts, the Ensemble Gilles Binchois still develop its inquiring generosity. Dominique Vellard and his musicians make all eras become contemporary. Indeed, if the core of its concerns is somewhere between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the Ensemble sang everything from Gregorian chant to the religious repertoire of the nineteenth century. Today they guide our ears towards the shores of the Mediterranean, where an intense artistic vitality grew between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. After Machaut’s model, the composers attached to the court of Avignon, Barcelona and Cyprus, show ingenuity and imagination: their motets and masses are the ground of rhythmic and melodic finds. To draw a complete portrait the Ensemble Gilles Binchois perform pieces of plain-song and instrumental compositions with two vielles and a medieval mandolin. First milestone of its 40th anniversary, this new record lets the South sun shine thanks to the voices of its singers and the timbre of the ancient strings. © Evidence
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Carmina Burana. A Medieval Coll. (13th c. Bavarian MS)

Philip Pickett

Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released May 10, 2019 | Decca

A landmark collection of medieval music, available for the first time in many years (13th c. Bavarian Manuscript)The ‘Carmina Burana’ is the most famous of all treasuries of medieval Latin and Middle High German poetry, named after the Bavarian monastery where it was compiled and preserved. It is best known today for Carl Orff’s hour-long selection from its rich collection of love lyrics, student songs and religious poetry, written in Latin and old German. During the 1960s and 70s a few early-music ensembles made more or less successful efforts to capture the unique mix of secular and sacred idioms brought together by the original manuscripts. But a systematic approach to the ‘Carmina Burana’ had to wait until the late 1980s when one of Britain’s most innovative early-music groups undertook a project to record over a quarter of the 200-plus songs at the behest of Decca’s L’Oiseau-Lyre imprint. The first volume of ‘Carmina Burana’ was only the second recording made by the New London Consort and its founder-director Philip Pickett but the album was quickly recognised as a signal event in the wider dissemination of medieval music. Critics praised the fidelity to the spirit as well as the text of ‘Carmina Burana’; the eloquent and often witty text-centred singing of Catherine Bott, Michael George and others; and the imaginative use of a full medieval instrumentarium. After the success of Volume 1, recorded early in 1986, L’Oiseau-Lyre recorded three further albums a year later and they became the basis for the wider international reputation of the New London Consort whose the principal artists have solo careers in addition to their work with this ensemble. Since being issued as a set in 1996, Pickett’s ‘Carmina Burana’ has long been unavailable: a significant lacuna in early-music recordings which this issue corrects. (© Decca Music Group Limited / Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd.)
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Splendor da ciel (Bologna, Cascia, Firenze, Mazzuoli...)

La Morra

Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released November 2, 2018 | Ramée

Hi-Res Booklet
Here's something fascinating: music from the 14th and early 15th centuries, lost for hundreds of years, has now been rediscovered thanks to some space-age technology. Because, in fact, the original manuscripts were never lost. In reality, the paper had been scrubbed and recycled or covered over with palimpsests because of the prohibitive price of parchment at the time. And so a whole body of Florentine works from the era of Petrarch, Boccacio, Dante and Machiavelli was erased to make room for 16th century poems. A careful examination of the San Lorenzo Palimpsest revealed that multi-spectral photography (anyone who knows what that is, raise your hand…) of the pages can render the underlying layer perfectly legible, and so now 111 pages of music from the 14th century can see the light of day. After six hundred years of multi-spectral silence, these pieces are interpreted here by the La Morra ensemble, which specialises in late medieval and Renaissance music with voice and instruments like the lute, vielle, clavicymbalum and recorder. There is an intensity of emotion in hearing these pieces which until now we never knew existed, written by composers of whom we know almost nothing such as Giovanni Mazzuoli and his son Piero, Paolo da Firenze or Jacopo da Bologna. Here they take centre stage. © SM/Qobuz
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Maria Nostra

Ensemble Irini

Sacred Vocal Music - Released September 21, 2018 | L'empreinte Digitale

Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica
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Boethius : Songs of Consolation

Sequentia

Classical - Released June 22, 2018 | Glossa

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Imprisoned at the start of the 520s, Boethius (real name Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, born around 477) couldn't have imagined that his final work would become one of the most-read books of the Middle Ages. Born into a noble Roman family in the days of the abdication of the last Western Emperor, Boethius undertook a fine career as a statesman, as a translator of Greek works into Latin, and as a poet. But the West was govern by an Ostrogothic King, Theoderic the Great, and Boethius's loyalty to the Senate of Rome made him suspect: accused of treason, he was imprisoned and then condemned to death in 524. In his Consolation of Philosophy, written in prison, he describes his battle with himself, to accept his fate, concentrating on the great questions of good and evil. And we know that in the Middle Ages these texts were sung, as we have found musical notation in around thirty manuscripts dating from the 9th to early 12th centuries. The neumes used in this notation describe the overall contour of the melodies, a kind of aide-mémoire for singers who would know the precise notes already. As this oral tradition has since been lost, it long seemed impossible to reconstitute these melodies, but recent research has made it possible to identify the models of song hidden behind this notation: medieval musicians associated certain metric schemes used in the Consolation with particular styles of song. The singers and instrumentalists of Sequentia, veteran performers of songs from this period, have put these discoveries to good use, bringing us a collection of two dozen 11th-century songs; several of Boethius's poems are set to this notation, and in particular the most dramatic part of the text, where Boethius laments his fall. Some fifteen centuries separate us from these singular sounds which seem at once to surge from the depths of the ages, and at the same time to be so close to us, thanks to the clarity of their writing. © SM/Qobuz
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Fons luminis : Codex Las Huelgas (13th C.)

Ensemble Gilles Binchois

Classical - Released June 1, 2018 | Evidence

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Machaut: Messe de Nostre Dame

Graindelavoix - Björn Schmelzer

Sacred Vocal Music - Released April 29, 2016 | Glossa

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Mneme

Ex Silentio

Classical - Released June 15, 2015 | Carpe Diem Records

Hi-Res Booklet
In classical antiquity Mneme was the Muse of Memory to-gether with Melete and Aoide, the ancient Muses of learning and singing. Memory has been consistently associated with music. Techniques of memory (Greek mnemotecnicae) can be found in medieval sources as early as the invention of Guido d’Arezzo’s “memory hand”. In medieval times popular as well as art music was widely learned and performed by heart. Music often only survived thanks to the musicians’ memory. Also traditional music is being passed down from master to disciple by memorizing melodies and verses through the centuries in many different cultures and places. This program brings together late medieval music from different Mediterranean regions: Castile, Provence, Florence, Thrace and Cyclades. Each area has its own specific characteristics and idioms. Each one holds its specific memories — Mneme as a unique interpretation of the world. (Carpe Diem Records)NOTE : The 420 Cantigas de Santa Maria is an anthology collected under King Alfonsos’ patronage. The writers are unknown, although several studies have suggested that Galican poet Airas Nunes might have been the author of a large number of the Cantiga poems. King Alfonso X — named as Affonso in the Cantigas — is also supposed to be an author of some of them as he refers himself in first person.
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Le chant de leschiquier (Binchois & Dufay)

Gilles Binchois

Classical - Released May 1, 2015 | Passacaille

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4 étoiles Classica
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Le Livre Vermeil de Montserrat

Bruno Bonhoure

Sacred Vocal Music - Released June 2, 2014 | Paraty Productions

Hi-Res Booklet
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"The Cosmopolitan". Songs by Oswald von Wolkenstein

Marc Lewon

Secular Vocal Music - Released May 5, 2014 | Christophorus

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Marie et Marion (Motets et chansons du XIIIe siècle français tiré du Codex de Montpellier)

Anonymous 4

Secular Vocal Music - Released April 7, 2014 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Hi-Res Audio
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Vertù contra furore (Musical languages in late medieval Italy, 1380-1420)

Mala Punica

Classical - Released March 24, 2014 | Arcana

Booklet
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Paolo Da Firenze : Amor, tu solo'I sai - Ballate e Madrigali

Thomas Baeté

Secular Vocal Music - Released June 1, 2013 | Musica Ficta

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Exceptional Sound Recording - Hi-Res Audio
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Das Glogauer Liederbuch

Martin Hummel

Classical - Released October 29, 2012 | Naxos

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason