on 25 May 2016
The pieces on this CD are extremely rich and varied in style (two English masses and four Burgundian motets). Savour particularly the sublime sonorities and intricate polyphony of the "Missa Summe trinitati" (Walter Frye) and the divine motet "Regina coeli I" (Antoine Busnois).
For me the Binchois Consort master the music of the late medieval / early Renaissance repertoire perfectly. The singing is crystal clear, the voices blending flawlessly. From the erudite notes it is clear that they have got to the very heart of these compositions. They combine scholastic and musical excellence.
This CD is a pleasure and an education.
The manuscript known as Brussels 5557, a major repository of 15th century music built up over many years, probably began as a collection of music for the celebrations of the marriage of Margaret of York, sister to King Edward IV, to Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, in 1468.
From the original content, this disc presents the English composer Walter Frye's Missa Summe Trinitati, plus an anonymous unnamed mass (Missa sine nomine) which on stylistic grounds scholars have also attributed to Frye.
Later additions to the manuscript include, also on this recording, some motets - two definitely by Antoine Busnois, court composer to Charles the Bold, plus two further examples again assigned on stylistic grounds also to Busnois.
To paraphrase the booklet notes, the music here is like a marriage of opposites, but as in any good marriage the combination is more than the sum of its parts.
The vocals by the sextet of performers of the Binchois Consort under the direction of Andrew Kirkman are, as we have come to expect, of the highest quality. The booklet contains excellent and copious notes by Kirkman on the historical background and the individual pieces presented on the disc. Full Latin sung texts are provided with translations.
on 9 January 2012
A Marriage of England and Burgundy is ideal background material for any historian of the pre-Reformation period. The type of music used in what must have been one of the most sumptuous weddings of the day creates an ideal atmosphere for the historian, or non-historian, who likes to get inside the skin of our medieval ancestors. Technically excellent with very informative covering notes. Strongly recommended.