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A Marriage of England and Burgundy / Binchois Consort

Album Summary

>Frye, Walter : Missa Sine nomine
>Busnois, Antoine : Regina caeli (i), antiphon for 4 voices
>Busnois, Antoine : Regina caeli (ii), antiphon for 4 voices
>Frye, Walter : Salve virgo mater pya
>Busnois, Antoine : Work(s)
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composers

Notes & Reviews:

"...The singing here is refined and skillful. One appreciates the effort of the musicians even more when one considers the demands that the composers make of the singers. These works are not easy to sing, with all of their delicate rhythmic nuances and melismatic expression. The tone of the ensemble is even and controlled. Andrew Krikman has certainly coached them to a fine performance." -Loewen, ARG

'A very fine disc. Another first-rate disc from Andrew Kirkman: this is a must' (International Record Review)

'Excellent. It is a perfect example of that all-too-rare marriage of first-rate scholarship and high-quality musicianship' (The Daily Telegraph)

'It is difficult to imagine more lucid or elegant performances. In a very short time, the Binchois Consort have established themselves as one of the very finest ensembles in the field' (Gramophone)

'Fascinating' (CD Review)

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
This is another disc to derive inspiration from the marriage in 1468 of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, and Margaret of York, sister of Edward IV and Richard III. The event fascinates performer - scholars because a manuscript of polyphony survives that can be very plausibly linked to these wedding celebrations (it's now kept in the Royal Library of Belgium in Brussels). After the Ferrara Ensemble's CD of mostly secular music came the Clerks' Group's mix of Masses from the manuscript (including Walter Frye's Flos regalis and Plummer's three - voice setting) and secular English songs. Now, with last year's Early Music Award - winners, the Binchois Consort, offering an all - sacred programme, four out of the five so - called 'Brussels' Masses (all in fact by English composers) are now available in fine performances.

It would be easy to insist on the fact that this programme is led by recent research. The attribution to Walter Frye of the anonymous three - voice Mass that opens this recording was made by Andrew Kirkman himself, and those of the two motets that conclude it to Busnois were proposed by Sean Gallagher (O pulcherrima/ Girum coeli) and Rob Wegman (Incomprehensibilia firme/Praeterrerum ordinem), all young scholars with impeccable credentials. Kirkman's notes are informative and detailed, but he's as concerned as his singers to drive home the music's purely aesthetic, chamber - musical qualities. As to Kirkman's attribution there's no doubt: listen to the sustained duets of the Sanctus and Agnus Dei, and there can be no doubt that the Mass is by a composer of the first rank; one has to agree that Wegman's attribution of Incomprehensibilia cries 'Busnois' out of the speakers: it could hardly be by anyone else.

Rightly Kirkman gently expresses doubts concerning O pulcherrima/ Girum coeli, - in fact it puts one very firmly in mind of late Dufay, and of his motet Ave regina coelorum in particular.

In some these are faultlessly judged and engaging performances. The music's nuances and details are very sensitively rendered, but so is the sense of larger - scale architecture and pacing; and Kirkman's long - standing commit - ment to Frye is particularly evident. The performances of Busnois' motets (both conjecturally attributed and firmly ascribed) are, at their best, equally exciting; but just occasionally there's the hint of strain in the higher voices' upper reaches and in the intricate tracery of O pulcherrima and Incomprehensibilia (particularly the latter, whose many sections do not quite flow together), and of the singers bracing themselves for the cross - rhythms of Regina coeli I. But these are details, and it's difficult to imagine more lucid or elegant performances. In a very short time, the Binchois Consort have established themselves as one of the very finest ensembles in the field.



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Works Details

>Frye, Walter : Missa Sine nomine
  • Performers: Damian O'Keeffe (Tenor); Christopher Watson (Tenor); Robert MacDonald (Bass); James Gilchrist (Tenor)
  • Conductor: Andrew Kirkman
  • Ensemble: Binchois Consort
  • Notes: 08/10/1999-08/12/1999
  • Running Time: 3 min. 46 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Form: Choral

>Busnois, Antoine : Regina caeli (i), antiphon for 4 voices
  • Performers: Damian O'Keeffe (Tenor); Christopher Watson (Tenor); Robert MacDonald (Bass); James Gilchrist (Tenor)
  • Conductor: Andrew Kirkman
  • Ensemble: Binchois Consort
  • Notes: 08/10/1999-08/12/1999
  • Running Time: 6 min. 25 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance

>Busnois, Antoine : Regina caeli (ii), antiphon for 4 voices
  • Performers: Damian O'Keeffe (Tenor); Christopher Watson (Tenor); Robert MacDonald (Bass); James Gilchrist (Tenor)
  • Conductor: Andrew Kirkman
  • Ensemble: Binchois Consort
  • Notes: 08/10/1999-08/12/1999
  • Running Time: 3 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: circa 1470

>Frye, Walter : Salve virgo mater pya
  • Performers: Damian O'Keeffe (Tenor); Christopher Watson (Tenor); Robert MacDonald (Bass); James Gilchrist (Tenor)
  • Conductor: Andrew Kirkman
  • Ensemble: Binchois Consort
  • Notes: 08/10/1999-08/12/1999
  • Running Time: 4 min. 48 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Form: Choral

>Busnois, Antoine : Work(s) :: O pulcherrima mulierum/Girum coeli circuivi
  • Performers: Damian O'Keeffe (Tenor); Christopher Watson (Tenor); Robert MacDonald (Bass); James Gilchrist (Tenor)
  • Conductor: Andrew Kirkman
  • Ensemble: Binchois Consort
  • Notes: 08/10/1999-08/12/1999
  • Running Time: 7 min. 20 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance

>Busnois, Antoine : Work(s) :: Incomprehensibilia firme/Praeter rerum ordinem
  • Performers: Damian O'Keeffe (Tenor); Christopher Watson (Tenor); Robert MacDonald (Bass); James Gilchrist (Tenor)
  • Conductor: Andrew Kirkman
  • Ensemble: Binchois Consort
  • Notes: 08/10/1999-08/12/1999
  • Running Time: 7 min. 38 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance