Collection: Popes and Antipopes

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Brassart,Caserta,Ciconia,Dufay,Tapissier etc,Velut
LABELS: Metronome
WORKS: Pictagore/O terra/Rosa; Eva dulcis
PERFORMER: Orlando Consort
CATALOGUE NO: MET 1008 DDD

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For most of the 14th century, popes lived in Avignon. In 1376 an attempt to return to Rome went badly wrong and produced two, and eventually three rival popes. The old papal palace at Avignon is now empty and lifeless, but here on this CD its defiant music can be heard again.

Some of it is simply brilliant: in the anonymous Pictagore/O terra/Rosa the individual lines collide to quite dazzling effect; and in Tapissier’s Eva dulcis the music swarms about our ears still imploring us, after all this time, to ‘end the Schism’. These performances are first-rate, though the English choral background of the singers produces a subdued hue in the brightly Italianate Già per gran nobeltà.

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This fascinating collection contains two real gems, a virtuosic account of Ciconia’s O Petre and the best ever recording of Dufay’s wonderful Ecclesie militantis. Who said the Middle Ages were the Dark Ages? Anthony Pryer