... is a mere puff of breath in the course of biological evolution but a damned long time in the history of music. Imagine that you could select one characteristic work of music from the compositions of each year between 1512 (the year of the death of Antoine de Févin) and the current 2012 CE. What would it be like to hear those 500 masterpieces one after another? And since we're imagining, let's imagine that we could hear them as they sounded on their first performance!
The point of that little minder-binder is that we have no solid justification for asserting that we know how precisely the earliest Requiem masses should sound. Obviously, duh! We do have some clues -- a) the notation, so different from our modern form; b) the museum instruments, with their virtues and weaknesses; & c) written descriptive sources. But "what we don't and can't know" is far greater than "what we think we do know." Can you guess where I'm going with this? Toward an apologia for the eccentric performance on this CD and on other recordings by the maverick Marcel Pérès with his Ensemble Organum.
I've blown hot and cold about Marcel Pérès in reviews over the years. I adore his performance of the Codex Chantilly Codex Chantilly - airs de cour (ballades & rondeaux, 14th century) /Ensemble Organum * Peres and detest his travesty of the Machaut Mass of Notre Dame Machaut: Messe de Notre Dame. Ensemble Organum exists in a parallel universe, especially since Pérès began to recruit his singers from other ranks than the graduates of the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis and comparable conservatories. Marcel Pérès is adulated by many and ridiculed by just as many. If you already know which position you take, you don't need my opinion. Stop reading this review and go listen to music. (Actually, that's good advice for any and all occasions!)
You'll notice that I'm giving this CD five bright stars. The reason is simple: I like it. I don't endorse it in any other way. If your musical taste, like mine, is catholic enough to appreciate both the serene perfection of the ensemble Cinquecento Richafort: Requiem & other sacred music and the rugged energy of the Corsican chant ensemble Barbara Furtuna In Santa Pace, there's a good chance that you'll enjoy "Lux Perpetua" ... or at least find it interesting.