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Missa L'homme armé - Supremum est mortalibus bonum CD

4.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Conductor: Jeremy Summerly
  • Composer: Anonymous, Guillaume Dufay
  • Audio CD (14 Jun. 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B000001445
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 121,103 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Product Description

Oxford Camerata - Jeremy Summerly, direction

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By E. L. Wisty TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 3 Nov. 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
...since this recording of Guillaume Dufay's Missa "L'Homme Armé" was made, and despite this being a seminal work of the Western musical tradition, it seems to have been the only recording in production for a number of years (until recently - more anon). I've very rarely come back to this disc which has mostly lain forgotten on the shelf, and only by default because of the complete lack of alternatives. I've never really got on with Jeremy Summerly and the Oxford Camerata, finding them, despite being technically excellent (and so you would expect seeing some of the names in the ensemble), a bit listless, languid and soul-less. The same goes for this recording on the whole, though Summerly does muck about with the tempo a bit between movements - the Kyrie and Gloria shuffle their feet, the Credo is reasonably upbeat but the Sanctus and Agnus Dei drag along at a snail's pace. Clearly some people do like their approach given the rave five-star reviews, but I beg to differ. "Quot homines, tot sententiae" and all that.

There is another recording of the mass just released, Dufay: The Masses for 1453 which also features the Missa "Se la face ay pale", another of Dufay's Meisterwerke. These feature instrumental accompaniment which, while not to my ideal taste, is incorporated into a recording far more engaging than this one.
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By Mart TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 3 Mar. 2008
Format: Audio CD
This music, or the opening track `L' homme arme' at least, may sound familiar to some people for it is the melody used on Karl Jenkins' album `The Armed Man: A Mass For Peace'.

Don't blame Karl for plagiarism however, for the original Missa L' homme arme (Mass for the Armed Man) was written during the Renaissance some 5 centuries ago around the mid 1450's and has since been used by more than 20 composers as a cantus firmus for the Roman Catholic Ordinary Mass.

While Dufay's version may not be the original (that honour is variably attributed to French composer Antoine Busnois) its melody line can certainly be traced to it, and considering Guillaume Dufay was the most famous composer in Europe during the mid 15th century he can certainly be credited with increasing the popularity of the piece even if he can't claim copyright.

This version, recorded at the Chapel of Hartford College in 1994 by Jeremy Summerly's Renaissance music experts `Oxford Camerata', uses five voices (male and female) to provide a subtle and intimate version of the piece and the recorded sound from the chapel is surprisingly atmospheric.

Two other works are included, `Illumina faciem tuam' (Make your face shine) and `Supremum est mortalibus bonum' (Peace is the supreme good of mankind).

The CD liner notes provide 4 pages of brief notes on Dufay, Summerly and the Oxford Camerata (including singer's names) and a translation of the texts from Latin to English completes a very satisfactory album of Early Music.
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By DAVID BRYSON TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 25 Jan. 2005
Format: Audio CD
Dufay's life seems to have been entirely within the 15th century. He was based at the abbey of Cambrai and seems to have enjoyed a wide reputation spreading as far as Scotland, where one of the manuscripts of this mass survives. The mass is a large-scale work, with a Sanctus lasting over ten minutes (which is a lot longer than, say, Verdi's), and an Agnus Dei taking well over eight. To complete the set there is a motet 'Supremum est mortalibus bonum' dating from the 1430's, and one very intriguing feature of this disc is the presence of an unharmonised 'Veni sancte spiritus' (sung to a popular tune) after the Gloria and two plainsong items 'Jubilate Deo' following the Credo and 'Illumina tu faciem' right at the end after the Agnus Dei. Sadly there is no illumination of this in the liner-note, which is really the most frightful guff saying next to nothing and saying it rather badly. Provisionally I have to assume that these numbers (all short) were sung at appropriate points during the celebration of the mass, otherwise what is the point of sequencing them in this way on the record? What I would have liked some guidance on is whether the composer envisaged these extras as integral parts of the setting of the mass - e.g. do they occur in the manuscripts, of which there are no fewer than four? Evidently I shall have to research this question elsewhere.
I am an admirer of the Oxford Camerata in general. As in their record of Josquin's mass based on the same chanson, there are 12 singers, those male these feminine as Milton puts it, numbering 7 and 5 respectively.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I adore this music: I'm a sucker for polyphony and artists such as Dufay are my idea of heaven. I'm not a musician, so I can't comment knowledgeably on the performance aspects of the disc, but it does seem to me beautifully executed.
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