Music for Saint Katherine of Alexandria — The Binchois Consort

CDA 68274
Release: 31 May 2019

Walter FRYE (d.1475). Missa Nobilis et pulchra    
1. Kyrie  Deus creator omnium  [6:16]
2. Gloria [6:27]

Thomas[?] BYTTERING (fl.c.1410-1420)
3. En Katerine solennia / Virginalis concio / Sponsus amat sponsam [2:46]

4. Gloria 'Virgo flagellatur' [6:30] Anonymous - Renaissance

5. Nobilis et pulchra [1:57] Anonymous - liturgical

Walter FRYE. Missa Nobilis et pulchra    
6. Credo [6:07]

John DUNSTAPLE (c.1390-1453)
7. Gaude virgo Katherina  [4:26]

Robert[?] DRIFFELDE (fl.1424-1468)
8. Sanctus and Benedictus 'Regnum mundi'  [4:46]

9. Virgo flagellatur [2:48] Anonymous - liturgical

Robert[?] DRIFFELDE (fl.1424-1468)
10. Agnus Dei 'Eructavit cor meum'  [5:02]

Walter FRYE. Missa Nobilis et pulchra    
11. Sanctus and Benedictus  [6:25]
12. Agnus Dei [6:09]

13. Salve scema sanctitatis / Salve salus servulorum / Cantant celi agmina laudes [6:34]


[15.7.2019] Remarks
14 Jul 2019
Todd M. McComb


Particularly since I used the previous volume largely to introduce a broader stylistic discussion of English-Continental oppositions (around the Ashwell disc from Graindelavoix), I want to give the third volume in the recent early fifteenth century English music series from the Binchois Consort, Music for Saint Katherine, its own entry:

This is, once again, music from an intriguing era of musical change, performed according to up-to-date practice & by an ensemble with extensive experience in related repertory. (And I was delayed in making these remarks due to more changes in the music retail business....) It also continues a pairing of alabaster sculpture with music, now with a "sculptor in residence" involved: It's a curious choice for a multimedia program in 2019, i.e. photos accompanying a CD, but hey, why not? Music-wise, as noted in the brief previous mention here, continuing performances of Frye & Dunstaple highlight the major repertory involved, but these sorts of thematic programs also allow the inclusion of various stylistic oddball pieces from the era, which does help to illuminate the basic musical questions being considered at the time, i.e. beyond the larger outputs that came to involve more influence on subsequent generations. (My comment or question regarding the performances themselves actually involves sustain: I'm starting to get the impression that the voices are too active, and should be letting the resonances "hang in the air" a bit more, i.e. without forcing the vocal cords.)

The Frye mass cycle here, also on the St. Katherine theme, hadn't been recorded previously, as far as I know, but they chose not to highlight that aspect: There have been a few single album productions devoted to Frye over the years, but no one has taken the plunge to record his entire output (which would fit on two CDs, if my calculations are correct), which I find kind of curious at this point. (Ciconia sports two complete 3CD editions, for instance.) Perhaps Frye's larger forms haven't been compelling enough for that, versus his popular shorter works, but one might compare his masses e.g. to those of Faugues in terms of basically elaborating song forms into longer movements.... More significantly, though (given his reputation), Dunstaple has even fewer dedicated programs from the CD era, and there's been little in the way of a systematic view of his output so far. Isn't it about time for a Complete Dunstaple? And how about a related program focusing on the late English isorhythmic motet per se? (But then, I guess I usually return to technical, rather than thematic, questions....)


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