Compere: Magnificat Primi Toni

By Fitch, Fabrice | Gramophone, August 2015 | Go to article overview

Compere: Magnificat Primi Toni


Fitch, Fabrice, Gramophone


Compere Magnificat primi toni. Tant ay d'ennuy/O vos omnes. Dictes moy toutes voz pensees. Une plaisant fillette ung matin se leva. Vous me faites morir d'envie. Ung franc archier. Ne doibt on prendre quant on donne. Au travail suis sans espoir de confort. Mes pensees ne me lessent une heure. O bone Jesu

The Orlando Consort Hyperion (F) CDA68069 (68' * DDD * T/t)

For their second recording of the music of Loyset Compere (their first was over twenty years ago--Metronome, 6/94), The Orlando Consort take the brave step of focusing almost exclusively on his songs. Brave, because 15th-century songs, with their use of wholesale repetition and uniformity of texture, require more patience of the uninitiated listener than much sacred music of the period, such that today's ensembles often hesitate to tackle them. This may be especially true of Compere, whose songs can last around 10 minutes in performance. They are also very exposing of a singer's technique: there really is nowhere to hide.

So much for the risks; now the rewards. Patience yields an appreciation of these pieces' near-miraculous formal balance and strength of melodic invention, both essential for the music to sustain the repetitions just mentioned. …

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