Magazine article Gramophone

'Concert Celeste'

Magazine article Gramophone

'Concert Celeste'

Article excerpt

'Concert celeste'

Anonymous repertoire connected with medieval cathedrals in the ecclesiastical province of Sens, France, spanning several centuries from Gregorian neumesto Renaissance polyphony

Ensemble Obsidienne / Emmanuel Bonnardot

Eloquentia (F) EL1544 (65' * DDD)

With the approach of the year's end comes this smorgasbord of seasonal fare focusing on four of the 12 days of Christmas--Christmas itself, St Stephen's, New Year and Epiphany. Mixing voices and instruments has always been part of Obsidienne's modus operandi; here, the festive theme may account for the greater prominence of the latter. The narrow liturgical time span is offset by the wide range of repertory, which covers everything from Notre Dame-style organum and conductus to early Dufay, plainchant to English carols, and Italian laude to the French tenor motets of the Roman de Fauvel. The performances are lively and well judged for the most part, but in the opening sets (especially the one devoted to Christmas) the shifts of style and scorings can seem a little dated, perhaps better suited to the live performances for which the programme was originally devised than to the permanence of CD. …

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