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The Paul van Nevel & the Huelgas Ensemble Collection [Box set]

Paul Van Nevel Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Audio CD (5 Oct 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 15
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Sony Music Classical
  • ASIN: B00205RKMO
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 207,089 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
I already had the Agricola CD from this set, so I knew what to expect; and I was definitely satisfied: an almost dreamy sound, yet extremely well-defined, and technically brilliant. Many of the other discs additionally have an innovative (yet extremely appropriate) use of instrumental accompaniment. Paul van Nevel and his choir explore some of the wonderful music from the Renaissance (and just before), and this is an *incredible* bargain for a 15-CD set. Yet, this is certainly *not* just another "greatest Renaissance hits" collection--the selections were such that I was unfamiliar with upwards of 50% of the music--and some (in particular the Agricola) are sufficiently mind-blowing that they remain as fresh as ever upon every single listening.

A short overview of each disc, in order (as found in the box set, generally chronological):

- Codex Las Huelgas--Music from 13th Century Spain
The sopranos of the Huelgas Ensemble feature heavily here, with many pieces having a lilting string instrument accompaniment. Most of these motets are two-part, with some lovely 3-part (but organum-style) writing on the Agnus Dei track. There's also wonderful and thoughtful use of vocal ornamentation, and look out for Benedicamus Domino (one of the few pieces I recognised), with it's alarming text-setting and dissonance.

- Febus Avant!--Music at the Court of Gaston Febus (C14th)
This disc samples the sometimes bizarre, and certainly obsessively convoluted style of the Ars subtilior. The works by Trebor and Solage in particular are perhaps not pieces to start off with if you're just getting into medieval music! 'Febus mundo Oriens' is a breath of fresh air, however, with some lovely wind instrument accompaniments too.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful box 9 July 2011
By Sid Nuncius #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
I wholeheartedly agree with Edward Lilley's review here. This is an excellent box of early music, full of drama, spirituality and sheer beauty. There is a huge variety here from the mighty 40-part wall of sound on Utopia Triumphans and Brumel's stunning "Earthquake Mass" to the intimate loveliness of Agricola's two- three- and four-voice works on A Secret Labyrinth, with lots of wonderful stuff in between - much of it unavailable anywhere else. Paul van Nevel produces a fabulously warm sound from his very fine group of singers, with a particularly deep and full group of basses, and the recorded sound captures it beautifully.

For an excellent and very full account of each disc I strongly recommend that you read Mr Lilley's review and then snap this set up. It's a real gem.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Into the Labyrinth 29 July 2010
Format:Audio CD
"A Secret Labyrinth" is a compilation of the first 15 CDs released in 1990-1998 by the Belgian-based Huelgas Ensemble. Huelgas is a choral group of around 20 unaccompanied singers, specialising in Early Music (Middle Ages to Renaissance), mainly religious themes, written by obscure or unknown composers such as Agricola, Riquafort and Ciprio de Rore. The Ensemble sings under the mercurial baton of Paul van Nevel, a leading interpreter and historian of Early Music.
Whether as an introduction to Early Music, or to journey further, this compilation is a "must", at a very competitive price.A Secret Labyrinth
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
106 of 107 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Details of each individual disc in this collection. 23 Feb 2010
By Thomas C. Benson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
For each disk, first the Sony Classic «Vivarte» album number, then the album title.
This should help find each of the individual albums on Amazon for more information.

SK 53341 - Codex Las Huelgas - Music from 13th Century Spain
SK 48195 - Febus Avant!, Music at the Court of Gaston Febus (1331-1391)
SK 53976 - Music from the Court of King Janus at Nicosia (1374-1432)
SK 66261 - Utopia Triumphans
SK 60760 - Alexander Agricola - A Secret Labyrinth
SK 68258 - Matthaeus Pipelare - Missa "L'homme armé", Chansons, Motets
SK 46348 - Antoine Brumel - Missa "Et ecce terrae motus", Sequentia "Dies irae"
SK 46699 - Mateo Flecha el Viejo (1481-1553) - Las Ensaladas
SK 53116 - Costanzo Festa (c.1490-1545) - Magnificat, Mass parts, Motets, Madrigals
SK 48249 - Nicolas Gombert (c.1500-c.1557) - Music from the Court of Charles V
SK 62694 - Pierre de Manchicourt (c.1510-1564) - Missa "Veni Sancte Spiritus", Motets, Chansons
SK 53373 - Orlando di Lasso (1532-1594) - Lagrime di San Pietro
SK 64305 - Jacobus Gallus (1550-1591) - Opus musicum, Missa super "Sancta Maria"
SK 66288 - Cancoes, Vilancicos - e Motetes Portugueses, Séculos XVI-XVII
SK 53115 - Joao Lourenco Rebelo (1610-1661) Lementations for Maundy Thursday, Vesper Psalms
62 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT MUSIC IN BUDGET BOX DONE RIGHT 19 Feb 2010
By Steven H. Koenig - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
There have been so many budget boxes of reissues from the major labels- Sony in this case - which have been priced beautifully but with no notes or texts or original labels.

Although the original labels really don't matter in this case, what we do have is astounding: 15 of van Nevel and the Huelgas Ensemble's Sony Vivarte CDs in editions which actually have the titles written on the spine of each cardboard mini-jacket, but more important, a 200 page book with complete texts and translations. The sturdy box itself in extremely attractive. I'm in heaven.

This is a must-buy, even if you have a few of the originals (they make great gifts). I intend to buy a few more as gifts for loved ones.

Editor, AcousticLevitation dot org
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short of a Real Review ... 2 Feb 2010
By Giordano Bruno - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
... the best I can do for the moment is to alert people to this super-bargain 15-CD box, including many of the early recordings of The Huelgas Ensemble. In turn, I thank another reviewer, MR Simpson, who alerted me. It seems at times that ONLY music is affordable in the current world economy.

I've reviewed several of the performances in this set separately, and even if I've picked a nit or two, I can't imagine anything more wonderful than carrying this box to a quiet place with a good sound system and browsing through it. In fact, that's exactly what I'll do as soon as it arrives.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Several centuries' worth of entertaining vocal music 3 Feb 2011
By Shauna S. Roberts - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
If you like vocal music of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, you'll probably enjoy this CD set. The many CDs did not get boring because a diverse repertoire was chosen, including pieces by obscure composers. The singing was well done. Although I wished for more instrumental accompaniments, this is such a great deal that I recommend it to anyone exploring early music. If you like only three CDs in this set, you've more than gotten your money's worth. Personally, I liked all the CDs, and several were standouts I wanted to listen to several times before moving on to listen to the next CD.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Middle Age - Renaissance CDs Around 24 Aug 2012
By Troy Williams - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I was very pleased with this CD set. If you are looking for typical Renaissance Faire music this is not for you. The music sounds more historically accurate than most you can find. I find this music very soothing and I recommend it to anyone interested in the medieval through the renaissance periods.
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