Guillaume Du Fay – The Tenor Masses (Les messes à teneur) – Cut Circle (2016) {2CD Musiques en Wallonie Digital Download} | ViralVideoPk

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Guillaume Du Fay – The Tenor Masses (Les messes à teneur) – Cut Circle (2016) {2CD Musiques en Wallonie Digital Download}

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Guillaume Du Fay - The Tenor Masses (Les messes à teneur) - Cut Circle (2016) {2CD Musiques en Wallonie Digital Download}

Guillaume Du Fay – The Tenor Masses (Les messes à teneur) – Cut Circle, Jesse Rodin (2016) {2CD Musiques en Wallonie Official Digital Download}
FLAC (tracks) – 44kHz/16 bit – Official Digital Download (qobuz.com) -> 673 Mb | MP3 @320 -> 325 Mb | Artwork (pdf+jpg) | 5% repair rar
© 2016 Musiques en Wallonie | MEW1577-1578
Classical / Renaissance / Choral / Chamber Music / Sacred Vocal Music / Masses / Passions / Requiems

What did it mean for Guillaume Du Fay (ca. 1397-1474), chameleon-like expert in every musical genre of his day, to compose four settings of the Mass Ordinary toward the end of his life? Looking back from the vantage point of the next generation, when the polyphonic mass reigned supreme, it might be tempting to interpret these works as a self-conscious summa of Du Fay’s career – an achievement akin to Haydn’s London Symphonies or Beethoven’s late string quartets. On a purely musical level these comparisons are apt. Each mass stakes out unique musical terrain; they are often strikingly experimental; and the entire set is shimmeringly beautiful from beginning to end, revealing a composer at the height of his powers.

Guillaume Du Fay - The Tenor Masses (Les messes à teneur) - Cut Circle (2016) {2CD Musiques en Wallonie Digital Download}

qobuz.com INFO

I’d say this is the best way to get to know Dufay’s cantus firmus masses. It’s actually a double-CD album containing four masses and a couple of additional pieces.

The editions are by Rodin himself. He retains mixed key signatures, doesn’t avoid cross relations too much, and slightly rewrites a passage in Missa "L’homme arme" at the phrase "in remissionem peccatorum". This rewrite is actually something I don’t like; I suspect he found some sort of a source with the passage in that form, but honestly it’s just not as good as the way in which it’s usually done. Otherwise though, I think Rodin has done a great job as far as I can tell.

The chosen tempos vary, but they never plod. Cut Circle take Missa "Se la face ay pale" exactly as fast as Chiaroscuro in every movement, which is faster than other groups, and a lot faster than Diablous in Musica. I have to say I like this fast tempo, and it’s great we have two so different but great performances of this mass in these tempi.

In Missa "L’homme arme", Cut Circle is faster than the Hilliards, but not as fast as Les Jeunes Solistes. Pretty much ideal to my mind. In Missa "Ecce ancilla domini", the tempo is considerably faster than that of the Ensemble Gilles Binchois, whose slow plodding tempos I’m not a fan of. I think this mass benefits from a lively, joyful tempo, even if Cut Circle doesn’t quite attain the same kind of joyfulness here as Prague Madrigal Singers in their recording from the 1960s. Cut Circle’s rendering is more mellow, but pleasant and pleasing and with a good pace nevertheless. Their rendering of Dufay’s last mass, Missa "Ave regina caelorum" is along these lines, and the same as above could be said of it vis a vis the rendering by Prague Madrigal Singers. Not as fast or lively, but more so than Cantica Symphonia in the same mass.

The balance in all these masses is usually good, but there are moments when Rodin wants to bring out a theme or voice and ends up pretty much drowning out the others or not allowing them to be properly heard even when they, to my mind, contain more interesting melodic material. These flaws are rare enough that I don’t want to take off a star from what is currently a must-have Dufay album.

The recorded sound is surprisingly good, possibly partly because of relatively close miking. The performances are apparently two-voices-per-part, which I believe is authentic for these masses (there are even moments in these masses when one part splits into two, so you need two singers there, suggesting two-per-part were intended by Dufay). Oh, and female singers are used as superius, which – though lacking historical justification – just sounds better as far as I’m concerned.

All in all, there’s no excuse for not acquiring this excellent release.

Guillaume Du Fay - The Tenor Masses (Les messes à teneur) - Cut Circle (2016) {2CD Musiques en Wallonie Digital Download}

Personnel:
Cut Circle
Jesse Rodin
, direction artistique

Carolann Buff, soprano
Mary Gerbi, soprano
Lawrence Jones, contreténor
Steven Soph, contreténor
Michael Barrett, ténor
Bradford Gleim, ténor
David McFerrin, basse
Paul Max Tipton, basse

Guillaume Du Fay - The Tenor Masses (Les messes à teneur) - Cut Circle (2016) {2CD Musiques en Wallonie Digital Download}

Tracklisting:
CD 1

1. Se la face ay pale (Guillaume Du Fay)
2-6. Missa Se la face ay pale
7-11. Missa L’homme armé

CD 2
1-5. Missa Ecce ancilla Domini/Beata es Maria
6. Ave regina celorum (anonyme, antienne en plain-chant)
7. Ave regina celorum III (Guillaume Du Fay)
8-12. Missa Ave regina celorum

Guillaume Du Fay - The Tenor Masses (Les messes à teneur) - Cut Circle (2016) {2CD Musiques en Wallonie Digital Download}

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