Dufay: Mass for St Anthony of Padua

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COMPOSERS: Dufay
LABELS: Archiv
WORKS: Mass for St Anthony of Padua
PERFORMER: Pomerium/Alexander Blachly
CATALOGUE NO: 447 772-2
St Anthony is the patron saint of things lost and found. This could not be more fitting, since this magnificent 15th-century work went missing for several centuries. David Fallows discovered it in 1980, masquerading under another name; he reunited it with other pieces which might have been from the same church service, and it was performed by the Hilliard Ensemble on Radio 3.

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In general this version measures up fairly well to the standard set by the Hilliard Ensemble. It is a long work and the attempt here to get it on one disc seems to have encouraged a brisk pace. The Kyrie is a little too hurried, and the speed change at the Christe seems awkward – perhaps even wrong. However, things are more sure-footed later, especially in the Alleluia (which may not be by Dufay and is a different one from the setting employed by the Hilliard Ensemble). The marvellous climax comes in the Osanna, given here with great exultation and with some rather seductive accidentals slipped into the middle voice by the performers. In his will, Dufay requested this Mass be sung in his memory: now we can begin to understand why. Anthony Pryer