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Conductus Vol 2 / Potter, O'Gorman, Covey-Crump


Release Date: 12/10/2013 
Label:  Hyperion   Catalog #: 67998   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Anonymous
Performer:  Christopher O'GormanJohn PotterRogers Covey-Crump
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 10 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



CONDUCTUS, VOL. 1: Music & Poetry from Thirteenth-Century France John Potter, Christopher O’Gorman, Rogers Covey-Crump (t) HYPERION 67949 (60:39 Text and Translation)


CONDUCTUS, VOL. 2: Music & Poetry from Thirteenth-Century France John Potter, Christopher O’Gorman, Rogers Covey-Crump (t) HYPERION 67998 Read more (70:45 Text and Translation)


These are the first two of three records of conductus that are part of a project at the University of Southampton. Subtitled Music and Poetry from Thirteenth-Century France , its purpose is to focus attention on the neglected repertoire of conductus. (The plural, by the way, is conductus, fourth declension in Latin grammar; the notes use the not-uncommon second declension plural.) Originally, the conductus was chanted in a liturgical setting, such as bringing the book of gospels to the lectern, in effect filling in the time that elapsed. (This understanding is disputed in the notes, because the singers would have difficulty singing while moving in procession, but this is not necessarily the case.) Statistics are proffered first: Between 1230 and 1320, 800 poems were copied, 675 set to music. The monophonic settings number 377, the two-part are 1284, the three-part are 111, and only three are in four parts. A fair number of these pieces are scattered among the discs of medieval sacred music, but they always seem to be forgettable next to organa and motets. These two discs have 16 and 17 tracks, so even if we count the third disc, the set will not offer even 10 percent of the total. These pieces have no more than three stanzas each, but some examples have up to seven, while single stanzas are rare.


One piece, Qui servare puberem , is heard on the first disc three times in monophonic, two-part unmeasured, and two-part measured versions. The second disc has a couple of familiar titles from Le Roman de Fauvel , with Bulla fulminante in both unmeasured and measured style and Dic, Christi veritas in both monophonic and three-part versions. These contrast greatly with the souped-up versions once recorded by Thomas Binkley and René Clemencic, among others.


For my taste, no better traversal of the repertoire is possible than these performances by one, two, or three unaccompanied voices. The music can stand on its own. One might compare it with Machaut’s Douce dame jolie , a virelai most purely rendered by Margaret Philpot in all its unadorned monody, compared with the lavish expansion that the Waverly Consort’s four voices and three instruments furnished, not to mention David Munrow with more voices, more instruments, and a chorus. I once demonstrated some fine versions of Hildegard’s symphoniae and then played Richard Souther’s “original compositions, arrangements, and interpretations” of what purported to be the same music (he made more than one such CD). One listener approached as soon as I was done to ask where she could get that last record. So much for demonstrating what seemed to be self-evident superiority.


The notes are erudite and thorough, though there is some repetition from one booklet to the other. The question of rhythm is vexed, and it is explored at length here. You may have heard a conductus before. It’s less likely that you will have had a chance to hear a string of renditions that present the music in such stark simplicity. Listen to one conductus, study it, absorb the way the melody brings out the text, then listen again. This is certainly the most extensive approach to this repertoire that has ever been recorded. That it succeeds so well is an enormous advantage. Potter and Covey-Crump are familiar for their participation in numerous early music ensembles as far back as the Early Music Consort and the Hilliard Ensemble, and O’Gorman has kept busy too. The third disc should be coming next year, but don’t wait to hear how justice has been done to this repertoire for (possibly) the first time.


FANFARE: J. F. Weber
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Works on This Recording

1.
Veste nuptiali by Anonymous
Performer:  Christopher O'Gorman (Tenor)
Period: Medieval 
Written: France 
2.
Naturas deus regulis by Anonymous
Performer:  John Potter (Tenor), Rogers Covey-Crump (Tenor), Christopher O'Gorman (Tenor)
3.
Dic, Christi veritas - Bulla fulminante, CB 131 & 131a by Anonymous
Performer:  John Potter (Tenor), Rogers Covey-Crump (Tenor), Christopher O'Gorman (Tenor)
Period: Renaissance 
4.
Dic Christi veritas by Anonymous
Performer:  Rogers Covey-Crump (Tenor)
5.
Bulla fulminante, CB 131a by Anonymous
Performer:  John Potter (Tenor), Rogers Covey-Crump (Tenor), Christopher O'Gorman (Tenor)
6.
Bulla fulminante by Anonymous
Performer:  John Potter (Tenor)
7.
Ave tuos benedic by Anonymous
Performer:  John Potter (Tenor), Rogers Covey-Crump (Tenor), Christopher O'Gorman (Tenor)
Period: Medieval 
8.
Ave Maria salus hominum by Anonymous
Performer:  John Potter (Tenor), Rogers Covey-Crump (Tenor), Christopher O'Gorman (Tenor)
Period: Medieval 
Written: England 
9.
Quid ultra tibi facere by Anonymous
Performer:  John Potter (Tenor), Rogers Covey-Crump (Tenor), Christopher O'Gorman (Tenor)
10.
Celorum porta by Anonymous
Performer:  John Potter (Tenor), Rogers Covey-Crump (Tenor), Christopher O'Gorman (Tenor)
11.
Ave, virga decoris incliti by Anonymous
Performer:  John Potter (Tenor), Rogers Covey-Crump (Tenor), Christopher O'Gorman (Tenor)
12.
Excutere de pulvere by Anonymous
Performer:  John Potter (Tenor), Rogers Covey-Crump (Tenor), Christopher O'Gorman (Tenor)
13.
Librum clausum et signatum by Anonymous
Performer:  John Potter (Tenor), Rogers Covey-Crump (Tenor), Christopher O'Gorman (Tenor)
14.
Aurelianis civitas by Anonymous
Performer:  John Potter (Tenor), Rogers Covey-Crump (Tenor), Christopher O'Gorman (Tenor)
15.
Gaude, virgo virginum by Anonymous
Performer:  Christopher O'Gorman (Tenor), John Potter (Tenor)
16.
Veste nuptiali by Anonymous
Performer:  Christopher O'Gorman (Tenor)
Period: Medieval 
Written: France 
17.
Ave tuos benedic by Anonymous
Performer:  Christopher O'Gorman (Tenor), John Potter (Tenor)
Period: Medieval 

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