I think this is the finest record so far from the astonishing Clement Janequin Ensemble, for three reasons. The first is that every performance here is bursting with energy and with the apparent experience of innumerable public performances: you never get the impression that a piece was prepared just for the recording. There are six very different voices here, sometimes scarcely blending, and occasionally with a touch of roughness. But that is all part of the magic. They are real performances.
The second reason, related to the first, is that one of the Clement Janequin Ensemble's most notable virtues is the ability to articulate some of those long, elaborate works of Janequin that can so easily seem empty and rambling. TheRead more singers offer a masterly variety of colour, texture and pace that clarifies many of the internal details but at the same time seems always beautifully focused on the needs of the broad musical design. They show that Le caquet des femmes, La chasse and La guerre are works of considerable—if bizarre—genius.
Which in turn brings us to the third reason: Janequin. He is surely one of the most varied and resourceful of all sixteenth-century composers. The record includes three immaculately turned Ronsard settings, and two of Marot. It includes the superbly madrigalesque Ce petit a'ieu qui vole, the exquisite C'esl a bon droit almost in the ultra-pure style of Claudin de Sermisy, and— as befits the finest musical exponent of the spirit of Rabelais—several works that are just plain dirty in a way that is difficult to parallel anywhere else in the history of music.
-- Gramophone [9/1988] reviewing the original release of this title, HM 901271 Read less