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on 29 November 2016
A disappointing disc. These are songs that need the words, sung, and with the right feeling quality. Instruments cannot replicate the voice in these works, which were surely meant to be sung, not played. Furthermore the instrumentation sounds too contrived, looking for special effects. Improvisation if fine, but when it becomes gimmicky it can be out of place, and especially so here. I don't feel that these musicians, competent though they are, have entered the mind of Dufay. They might have scholarly information but miss out on the peculiar poignancy and intensity of these songs which to my ear are among the best in European music.
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on 30 July 2002
Dufay's music would have been notated in a completely different and more primitive style compared to the modern rudiments of notation today, which leaves more room for mistakes to be made. However, this recording of the 'Ensemble Unicorn' displays their masterful interpretation of Dufay's music. As well as overcoming the difficulties of 'translating' the music from medieval manuscripts, they play on early instruments, adding to the recording's authenticity.
If you are new to early music, some of the tracks may surprise you. For example, 'Quel fronte signorille La Dolce Vista' sounds as if it could have been written five centuries later, as it has a very pointilistic style, popular in 20th century 'Avant Garde' music.
It is a shame, then, that medieval music is not as popular as it deserves to be - it is somewhat overshadowed by later musical eras. Therefore, I would recommend this CD to new listeners to medieval music as well as enthusiasts of it.
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