A SPICY CHRISTMAS FEAST!
The early Christmas carols on this disc were created in England, France and Germany at various times from the twelfth century to the fifteenth. It is no longer known, in most cases, who wrote the individual carols. They are generally songs with several stanzas of devotional but sometimes earthy text, each stanza sung to the same music, sometimes with varied interludes between them. The names of the poets and composers who wrote them are for the most part unknown. The carols are sung here in the manner that scholars believe was used when they were new, and they are played on replicas of ancient instruments.
This was an era when choirs and folk music mixed; there was very little difference in the popular music of the church or the tavern. Often more Chaucer than Christian. This is a lively recording to be enjoyed for its attractive melodies and exciting rhythms.
The all-male ensemble 'Pro Cantione Antiqua' has long been a favorite of mine and includes singers that are quite knowledgeable and skilled in the Early Music Genre. THE GRAMOPHONE says it well in their comments: "a spirited recital by Mark Brown's Pro Cantione Antiqua and the English Medieval Wind Ensemble. The six singers are old hands (including Charles Brett, James Griffett and Michael George) and it's a good full-bodied sound they produce. Still more attractive is the rhythmic variety of their performance, starting with the well-known Alle Psallite. Other medieval pops include Angelus ad Virginem, Otientis Partibus and Goday my lord syre Christemasse and a particularly lively setting of Beata viscera by Perotin.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION FOR THE PROSPECTIVE BUYER: There are two cover issues of this 1987 recording one of which is this one with the three singers on the front and there are several listings of this at different prices. HOWEVER, there is only one listing of the ORIGINAL RECORDING which has the picture of musical instruments on the front and is selling at the moment for 99cents. It is one and the same recording so why spend more?????