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Graindelavoix - Björn Schmelzer - Joye (Binchois : Choral Music)

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Joye (Binchois : Choral Music)

Graindelavoix - Björn Schmelzer

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This is one of those European releases with a booklet that sounds as though it could have come straight out of the pages of Artforum International. Be prepared for sentences like "In other words, ornamentation has a vectorial, dynamic function and outweighs organic balance." Given the name of this Belgian group, Graindelavoix (which refers to the "grain of the voice" idea propounded by literary theorist Roland Barthes), that's to be expected. The album's basic aim, however, is simpler: group leader Björn Schmelzer tries to bring to the performance of early Renaissance music some of the passion and freedom associated with the historical-instrument movement in Baroque repertory. The effort has two aspects. First, Schmelzer asserts that the most important question in regard to instruments in the case of Binchois and fifteenth century secular song generally is not whether instruments should be used but rather how they should be used if they are used. His answer is startling: the small group of accompanying fiddles, harp, and lute does not simply double the vocal lines (or play the notated lines other than the cantus) but accompanies the vocalist heterophonically and gently, creating a kind of tonal cloud. The effect is medieval, for the performance comes off as an elaboration of a group of monophonic lines, and in general Schmelzer's conception of Busnois' music stresses its connections with its medieval antecedents rather than looking forward to the humanistic discoveries about music and text that were already in the pipeline. Schmelzer's second innovation has to do with ornamentation: noting that Busnois' music seems to rely structurally on contrasts between plain and ornamented phrases, he sets the (mixed-gender) singers free to ornament emotionally intense phrases in ways that go beyond what the composer indicates. The effect here is a bit frilly -- the models used for the ornaments seem to come from instrumental treatises -- but the performers do succeed in creating a Busnois sound that diverges completely from the circumspect performances of the past. In a way, this is less an authentic performance than an imaginative effort to extend Busnois' intentions and make them relevant to the present day. Those just getting to know the music of the early Renaissance should know that this is an unorthodox recording, but enthusiasts will find plenty to chew on and savor.
© TiVo

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Joye (Binchois : Choral Music)

Graindelavoix - Björn Schmelzer

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1
Adieu mes très belles amours
00:06:26

Graindelavoix - Björn Schmelzer, Conductor - Gilles Binchois, Composer

2
Amoureux suy et me vient toute joye
00:04:39

Graindelavoix - Björn Schmelzer, Conductor - Gilles Binchois, Composer

3
Je ne pouroye estre joyeux
00:05:27

Graindelavoix - Björn Schmelzer, Conductor - Gilles Binchois, Composer

4
Se la belle n'a le voloir
00:04:00

Graindelavoix - Björn Schmelzer, Conductor - Gilles Binchois, Composer

5
Qui veut mesdire si mesdie
00:04:20

Graindelavoix - Björn Schmelzer, Conductor - Gilles Binchois, Composer

6
Mon seul et souverain désir
00:05:56

Graindelavoix - Björn Schmelzer, Conductor - Gilles Binchois, Composer

7
Les très doulx yeux du viaire ma dame
00:02:59

Graindelavoix - Björn Schmelzer, Conductor - Gilles Binchois, Composer

8
Adieu, jusques je vous revoye
00:08:26

Graindelavoix - Björn Schmelzer, Conductor - Gilles Binchois, Composer

9
Tant plus ayme tant plus suy mal ame
00:05:03

Graindelavoix - Björn Schmelzer, Conductor - Gilles Binchois, Composer

10
Esclave puist yl devenir
00:06:48

Graindelavoix - Björn Schmelzer, Conductor - Gilles Binchois, Composer

11
Adieu mon amoureuse joye
00:07:00

Graindelavoix - Björn Schmelzer, Conductor - Gilles Binchois, Composer

12
Mort, tu as navre / Miserere
00:12:40

Graindelavoix - Björn Schmelzer, Conductor - Johannes Ockeghem, Composer

Album Description

This is one of those European releases with a booklet that sounds as though it could have come straight out of the pages of Artforum International. Be prepared for sentences like "In other words, ornamentation has a vectorial, dynamic function and outweighs organic balance." Given the name of this Belgian group, Graindelavoix (which refers to the "grain of the voice" idea propounded by literary theorist Roland Barthes), that's to be expected. The album's basic aim, however, is simpler: group leader Björn Schmelzer tries to bring to the performance of early Renaissance music some of the passion and freedom associated with the historical-instrument movement in Baroque repertory. The effort has two aspects. First, Schmelzer asserts that the most important question in regard to instruments in the case of Binchois and fifteenth century secular song generally is not whether instruments should be used but rather how they should be used if they are used. His answer is startling: the small group of accompanying fiddles, harp, and lute does not simply double the vocal lines (or play the notated lines other than the cantus) but accompanies the vocalist heterophonically and gently, creating a kind of tonal cloud. The effect is medieval, for the performance comes off as an elaboration of a group of monophonic lines, and in general Schmelzer's conception of Busnois' music stresses its connections with its medieval antecedents rather than looking forward to the humanistic discoveries about music and text that were already in the pipeline. Schmelzer's second innovation has to do with ornamentation: noting that Busnois' music seems to rely structurally on contrasts between plain and ornamented phrases, he sets the (mixed-gender) singers free to ornament emotionally intense phrases in ways that go beyond what the composer indicates. The effect here is a bit frilly -- the models used for the ornaments seem to come from instrumental treatises -- but the performers do succeed in creating a Busnois sound that diverges completely from the circumspect performances of the past. In a way, this is less an authentic performance than an imaginative effort to extend Busnois' intentions and make them relevant to the present day. Those just getting to know the music of the early Renaissance should know that this is an unorthodox recording, but enthusiasts will find plenty to chew on and savor.
© TiVo

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