The record that I will keep listening to…    by Totor Subtil

Songs from Ms. Oxford, Bodleian Library, Canici Misc. 213
“Of sadness, of mourning, of desplaysance”, by the Tetraktys ensemble.

Received yesterday, listened to very carefully, I would even say greedily.
The choice of these pieces, all nominative, shows how varied this codex is and how it holds a special place in the pre-Renaissance repertoire. The main points are told about the history, origin and destination of this manuscript, in the brochure accompanying the CD.
Thanks to this sublime program, we are immersed in the years 1400-1430, we rub shoulders with these composers with an obscure or nonexistent biography, elders or young contemporaries of Dufay and Binchois.
We find with pleasure very beautiful versions of the familiar ballades and rondeaux such as “Ma doulce amour” by Hasprois, or “Je demande ma bienvenue” by Haucourt;  the tasty dialogue by Paullet “J’aim. Qui? Vous! Moy?
We rediscover the extraordinary “subtle” ballade by Gilet Velut “Laissies ester vostres chants”, full of “vicissitudes”, unpredictable changes in rhythms.
We discover for the first time gems like the canon-rondeau “Se je me plains” by Liebert, “a forma di fuga”, immediately followed by the poignant title song, “De tristresse”, by the same author where the f sharp – b flat interval immediately sets the tone of melancholy.

Ars Subtilior reigns supreme with the works of Hasprois, including the ballade “Se mes deux deux” enriched by heartbreaking syncopation.
The later works by Adam, by Malbecque “the younger”, their  “very 1430″rhythm- up to the homorythmia – make one think of the lyricism of Binchois. As for Malbecke, whom I will call “the older”, it seems that he is a different composer. He left us a rondeau of extreme finesse, whose chromaticism and rhythmic rolls remind me of the climate of the Franco-Cypriot codex.

This admirable CD, like the two previous ones devoted to Chantilly, feasts us on fifteen tracks (that is a good fifth of volume 2 of the eleventh CMM series “early fifteenth century music”). That’a a sure promise for  a sequel.
A hundredfold thanks to the Tetraktys ensemble.


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