Guillaume DUFAY. Lament for Constantinople & other songs — The Orlando Consort

CDA 68236
Release: 3 May 2019

1. O tres piteulx / Omnes amici 'Lamentatio sancte matris ecclesie Constantinopolitane'   [3:45]
2. Je vous pri / Ma tres douce amie! / Tant que mon argent dura   [1:23]
3. La dolce vista   [3:22]

4. Je me complains   [2:18]
5. Mon chier amy   [5:59]
6. Malheureulx cueur   [5:27]

7. Ma belle dame, je vous pri   [4:22]
8. Pouray je avoir vostre mercy?   [4:32]
9. Helas, et quant vous veray?   [1:08]

10. Je ne suy plus tel que souloye   [2:24]
11. Je vueil chanter de cuer joyeux   [2:50]
12. Ce moys de may   [3:24]

13. Belle, que vous ay je mesfait?   [4:07]
14. En triumphant de Cruel Dueil   [6:00]
15. Par le regard de vos beaux yeux   [4:25]

16. Vostre bruit et vostre grant fame   [6:26]
17. Le serviteur   [5:07]
18. Puisque vous estez campieur   [3:40]


[30.5.2019] Remarks
29 May 2019
Todd M. McComb


[Let me also take a moment to discuss a couple of other recent releases devoted to key 14th & 15th century repertory, even as my thoughts will be briefer & perhaps more ambivalent....]

The new Orlando Consort album, titled simply Dufay, includes some of the more unusual secular unica in the great composer's output, but also comes off as a rather conservative production: In particular, although it moves decisively — as is the norm with this ensemble — to all-vocal renditions (& with one voice to a part), the group continues to use the Besseler-Fallows edition (1964/1995) of the songs, and even involves Fallows to provide the liner notes.

These are interesting for some of their associations & discussions of the unique place of some of these songs, but also say little about the approach to performance. (What is considered is e.g. whether to take repeats, how to fill in missing material, etc. I.e., the basic sound & structure is taken for granted, making it a question of which verses....) In particular, the tuning here seems out of place to me from the opening, with strange passings & curious cadences, although it starts to seem a bit more idiomatic by the later part of the program (which is mostly later music).

Such an impression is in sharp contrast to e.g. the recent The Dufay Spectacle from Gothic Voices, which might come off as relatively over-showy, and does include some bigger repertory & (sometimes overdone) instrumental doubling, but also provides a quite convincing sense of tuning & structure. Although it's partly due to specific repertory choices (as noted), that program is also more energetic, whereas the new Dufay comes off rather more subdued: In that, it recalls the same ensemble's Compère (where sound engineering is also an issue — seemingly worked out in the course of the group's Machaut Edition...), an album that seems quite valuable for its ongoing exploration of the later composer, but which often comes off as muddled & as a relatively random assortment. (There the similar tuning does seem more appropriate.)

Maybe that album just needed more presence from the engineering to hear the lower voices better, but that Dufay takes such a conservative approach to performance style & sources is somewhat surprising. (The Machaut Edition is based on new, forthcoming editions.) And maybe this effort really revolves around an unstated insistence on later 15th century tuning principles, as they develop between Pythagorean & mean-tone.... Anyway, there are appealing moments — right from the beginning — and Dufay is always great, but I was disappointed by this project.

[In contrast to the Orlando Consort, La Reverdie ... ]


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