Antoine BUSNOYS / Pomerium
In hydraulis & other works. Missa 'O crux lignum triumphale'


"Antoine Busnoys (c.1430-1492) was one of the greatest of the Franco-Flemish composers, and is considered one of the most accomplished chanson writers of the later 15th century (approximately 65 surviving chansons). His smaller sacred output (14 surviving works in Latin) is also quite interesting: In Hydraulis is a complex motet dedicated to Johannes Ockeghem, and the mass on this disc is one of two securely attributed to Busnoys (the other being a Missa L'Homme armé)"
Dorian 90184
febrero-marzo de 1993

01 - In hydraulis   [7:12]
02 - Anthoni usque limina   [5:35]
03 - Victime pascali  (plainchant, Sarum rite, 13th c.)   [2:01]
04 - Victime pascali   [5:39]
05 - Regina celi  (plainchant, Cambrai use, c. 1508)   [1:51]
06 - Regina celi I   [6:00]
07 - A que ville   [4:56]
08 - Bel acueil   [4:14]
09 - Je ne puis vivre   [4:41]

Missa O crux lignum triumphale

10 - 1. Kyrie   [2:35]
11 - 2. Gloria   [6:11]
12 - 3. Credo   [7:31]
13 - 4. Sanctus   [7:27]
14 - 5. Agnus   [6:10]

Alexander Blachly

Ruth Cunningham, Michèle Eaton, Kathy Etherington, Alessandra Visconti - sopranos
Phyllis Jo Kubey - alto
Gregory Carder, Timothy Leigh Evans, Stephen Rosser, Michael Steinberger - tenors
Jeffrey Johnson, Paul Shipper, Peter Stewart, Nathaniel Watson - basses

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Editorial Reviews
One of the delights of exploring early music is that there's always some wonderful discovery just around the corner--some composer or work you've never heard of or were afraid to take a chance on last year, but who now compels your attention. And you're pleasantly surprised, as you will be when you discover the works of 15th-century Burgundian composer Busnoys. From the very first minute of his fantastic In hydraulis--a tribute to Ockeghem--you'll realize that here was a composer of considerable talent for part writing, for melody, and for intricate rhythmic structures. No less interesting is his motet in honor of St. Anthony Abbot, with its vocal imitation of a tolling bell throughout. The writing is remarkably fluid and harmonically inventive--and the 13-voice ensemble Pomerium demonstrates absolutely marvelous control and virtuoso technique. --David Vernier (editorial reviews,


Without hesitation, I recommend this recording to any person interested in exploring the hauntingly beautiful world of Busnoys' music.
Indeed, I have made a point to acquire each and every recording by Pomerium. I know of no finer ensemble that records this repertoire. From Du Fay to Monteverdi, Josquin to Gesualdo, Pomerium is simply the best. And this lovely collection of the music of Busnoys is no exception.
(Benjamin J Evans, Louisville, 27.1.2001)

This is wonderful music, virtually unrecorded apart from "In Hydraulis" itself (by the Clerks Group). Unfortunately slow tempi rob the music of its rhythmic interest, and it all comes out sounding like everything else Pomerium have ever done. There's a superficial gloss of "renaissance" all over it which is boring after 5 minutes. Processed, like American cheese.
(eczematic, Sydney, 22.1.2001)

The negative review by the gentleman from Sydney would be warranted for many of Pomerium's CDs. The group often sounds "choral" and careful. This, however, is a vigorous, joyful performance of music by one of the greatest and sadly least-recorded early European composers. I've had the CD for a long time, long enough so that it has risen to the top of my play-again pile. In fact, I played it again and enjoyed it very much. The only recording of Busnois that I think is better is the Orlando Consort's "O Crux Lignum".
("Giordano Bruno, 15.9.2007)

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Early Music Review, June 1994:

* "Antoine Busnoys: 'In hydraulis' & Other Works". Pomerium, Alexander Blachly. Dorian DOR 90184

In spite of the veritable explosion in recent years of recordings of early choral music, the 15th century court of Burgundy has been surprisingly neglected, and it is a pleasure to be able to review favourably a collection of choral works by the composer of one of the first 'L'Home Armé' masses and possibly of the tune itself. Busnoys is a master of inventiveness and originality and Pomerium negotiate some hair-raising changes of pulse and harmony with great panache to give us a series of impressively confident readings of his quirky motets, chansons and the Mass 'O crux triumphale'. A set of admirable notes give us fascinating information about the music and highlight how much remains to be discovered about the man. Perhaps the concerted cataloguing of Flemish musical archives currently underway will enhance our knowledge.

— D. James Ross