COMPOSERS: Music and Poetry from 13th-century France
ALBUM TITLE: Conductus 2
WORKS: Includes Bulla fulminate; Celorum porta; Virgo virginum
PERFORMER: John Potter, Christopher O’Gorman, Rogers Covey-Crump (tenor)
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 67998
This is the second CD in a projected trilogy spotlighting conductus, a form of sacred (but non-liturgical) medieval music written for one or more voices. In this CD’s booklet notes, Mark Everist calls conductus the poor relation in the history of 12th- to 14th-century music. One possible reason for the undervaluing of this tradition is that scholars remain uncertain about its function, let alone how it was performed.
In these pages I enthused about the repertoire, performances and sound on the first volume. I see no reason to be less complimentary about this release. John Potter, Christopher O’Gorman and Rogers Covey-Crump have distinctive voices, differing in weight and timbre, but they blend beautifully and each is attuned to the character of this graceful music, which still sounds a trifle exotic because of its relative unfamiliarity compared with basic plainchant or later liturgical material.
The recording is, as noted with Volume 1, detailed yet resonant, serving the needs of lyric clarity whilst evoking a pleasingly airy ambience.