Dufay, Compre, Anon

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Anon,Compre,Dufay
LABELS: Hyperion
WORKS: Missa Puisque je vis (attrib.); Ave regina celorum. Omnium bonorum plena. Concede nobis domine; Salve maris stella
PERFORMER: Binchois Consort/Andrew Kirkman
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 67368
These works by Guillaume Dufay, Loyset Compère and two anonymous composers represent the highest standards of 15th-century compositional art. It is particularly enterprising to have issued this first-ever recording of the skilful but anonymous Missa Puisque je vis, attributed to Dufay by the respected scholar Laurence Feininger in 1963. This is of far more than just academic interest, since the poise and control of the performers is apparent everywhere; in a movement such as the Sanctus, the musical pleasures are hard to miss. Had they also recorded the chanson upon which the Mass is based, the enterprise would have been complete.

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Among the other works, Concede nobis and Salve maris stella are the quirkiest. Both have hectic and peculiar moments, rhythmically and texturally, but the fizzy little roulades are kept neatly under control with all the aplomb of a chemist managing a boiling test-tube with a touch on the bunsen burner. This process, though, sometimes gives the music a slightly hard edge, especially in Compère’s Omnium bonorum and Dufay’s Ave regina. For more yielding, but less exacting, accounts of both of these works, compare the live recordings by the Hilliard Ensemble on its own label (reviewed August 1997 and October 1998).