England's Orlando Consort, a quartet of male singers augmented as needed by other performers, offers performances of Renaissance vocal music that lie midway between the traditional and the highly individualized modern. Sometimes they veer toward one of those two extremes, but often, as on the present disc, they find a happy medium. Their sound, especially in sacred music, owes much to the English cathedral tradition, but there's a well-honed edge to their one-voice-to-a-part interpretations that brings out the crowds who've recently been drawn to early music. This disc is intended as an introduction to a composer who doesn't always offer easy listening to the modern ear. Netherlander Antoine Busnois, active at the end of the fifteenth century and considered the greatest figure between Dufay and Josquin, wrote music that broke free from elaborate medieval numerology but came in advance of Josquin's perfect marriage of music and text.
If you like Charles Aznavour, you will love this new collection. It contains some of his classic songs, as well as those from a few years ago. One good song is followed by an even greater one, without boredom. Aznavour is a timeless masterpiece, which keeps on perfecting…
…The performances are fine and the digipack is an elegant presentation. The composer, so highly regarded in his own time, deserves more for his anniversary, but this will suffice for now. More than sufficient, it is a delightful hour and a quarter of music.
Two classic easy-listening albums by Paul Mauriat and His Orchestra, originally released in 1968 on the Philips label, together on one CD and remastered from the original analogue stereo tapes for Vocalion's trademark crystal-clear sound.
Returning to the Montpellier Codex for this programme of motets and chansons from 13th-century France, Anonymous 4 explores two dominant themes of the period: love and longing for the earthly/earthy Marion and the heavenly/virginal Marie. The Montpellier Codex, from which Anonymous 4 draw all these motets, was collected in Paris around the year 1300 and is the richest single source of 13th-century French polyphony. With a repertory spanning the entire 13th century, it contains polyphonic works in all the major forms of its era: organum, conductus, hocket and, primarily, motet (315 motets in all).