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Antoine Busnois was one of the important representatives, alongside Gilles Binchois and Guillaume Dufay, of the Burgundian School, the earliest phase of what is known as the Franco-Flemish school. This disc presents a range of his music: one of the two polyphonic mass ordinaries securely attributed to him (another eight surviving masses have been less firmly linked to him), several chansons (including rondeau, ballade, virelai and double-text forms) from the seventy-five he wrote, plus two motets & one chanson-motet attributed to Busnois by modern researchers on a stylistic basis.

The quartet of the Orlando Consort, countertenor Robert Harre-Jones, tenors Mark Dobell & Angus Smith, and baritone Donald Greig have been one of the finest interpreters of medieval and Renaissance music it has been our privilege to hear. Whether chanson, motet or mass, they deliver these pieces in a sprightly and vivacious manner and convey a sheer joy at performing them.

Like all these Musique d'abord releases, it is a basic package in a thin foldout sleeve with minimal booklet providing the briefest of notes on the programme and Busnois' life and work, with no sung texts provided. Nevertheless it is a welcome re-issue showcasing this important figure in the development of the European musical style of the early Renaissance. Those interested should also check out the excellent disc by the Binchois Consort Busnois/Domarto: Missa "L'homme armé" et. al..
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This is an excellent disc of lovely early Renaissance music, performed by a very fine ensemble.

Busnois was one of the very greatest composers of the 15th century and this disc features one of his finest mass settings and a good selection of other pieces. The music is spare and often very lovely, but also dramatic and even rather subversively rumbustious in places. It marks the transition from the late Mediaeval to Renaissance styles, with some of Busnois's innovations paving the way for composers like Josquin. I think it's great stuff.

The Orlando Consort sing it wonderfully. They are a quartet of virtuoso singers who are stalwarts of ensembles like The Tallis Scholars and The Sixteen, and their impeccable technique and fine balance allow them to give this music the inner glow it deserves. It's a wonderful performance, and one of my favourites of theirs, which is really saying something.

This is a review of the original release, which has full texts, very good notes and attractive presentation. Even if the re-release lacks some of this, the music still makes it very well worth buying, and I recommend this very warmly.
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on 7 July 2015
This CD provides an excellent panorama of an exceptional early renaissance composer. The secular pieces are vibrant, bright and rhythmically engaging. The sacred works are intricately constructed and the polyphony expresses great feeling.
The Orlando Cosort singing one voice to a part give a wonderful performance doing justice to this beautiful music.
Although less well-known than his great contemporary Johannes Ockeghem (who he probably met) Busnois merits more attention and this CD is an ideal starting-point.
The budget price should not put you off. The notes are sparse, there are no texts but the recording and performance are first-rate.
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