COMPOSERS: Baston,Certon,Clemens Non Papa,Decarella,etc,Gombert,Leroy,Mittantier
LABELS: Harmonia Mundi
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Les Plaisirs du Palais
PERFORMER: Ensemble Clément Janequin/Dominique Visse
CATALOGUE NO: HMC 901729
Dominique Visse has been doing this kind of thing for years and, in terms of entertainment value, he does it very well. In this, his latest collection of chansons from the early 16th century, his musical aim is to show the complex links between the Parisian style (in works by Sermisy, Certon, etc) and the Netherlands style (as found in pieces by Gombert, Appenzeller, and so on). But the whole thing is presented as though background music at a feast, and the concert reaches a wonderful climax in Gombertcomplex and hilarious evocation of a hare hunt, ‘La chasse au lievre’.
In fact, the performers are at their best in those pieces that require some kind of comic characterisation, such as Nicolle des Celliers’s frankly filthy ‘Ung vray musicien’. But in ‘Musae Jovis’, a delicate and intricate work by Appenzeller commemorating the death of Josquin, the voices are too mismatched and technically unstable to really sustain the work. This disparate vocal colour, though, works to their advantage in the anonymous ‘C’est tout abus’, where the deliberate clashes of semitones are thrillingly and acerbically squeezed out of the music. And, throughout the disc, lutes and viols add energetic and colourful support. Anthony Pryer