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Medieval Christmas / The Orlando Consort


Release Date: 01/01/2006 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi   Catalog #: 907418   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Jacobus Clemens non PapaAnonymousLoyset CompèreGuillaume Dufay,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orlando Consort
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews


In the 10th or 12th or 15th centuries, Christmas as we know it hadn't been invented, and such things as carols were yet to be defined as a specifically Christmas genre--indeed they could pop up at any time of year, and were as likely to celebrate the birth of Spring as the Babe in Bethlehem. What this means for modern compilations of Medieval Christmas repertoire--which also includes motets, songs, and chant--is that most of the music will have no overt connection to Christmas for today's listeners. In fact, these carols, motets, and songs sound just like any other music from the periods in question, so a listener intrigued by a disc title such as "Medieval Christmas" will be confronted
Read more with what sounds like any other "early music" vocal program. The challenge then for performers is to both provide an exemplary realization of the music and style for seasoned early-music aficionados while also providing illuminating context for novice listeners to happily explore what remains an endlessly fascinating and continuously vital area of music history.

The four male singers who make up the Orlando Consort (here joined by occasional collaborator Robert MacDonald) have proven to be crafty programmers with such engaging releases as Medieval Gardens and Food, Wine, and Song (see Reviews), and here they manage to organize their careful selections in a way that both flows well and makes it easy to discern and appreciate the music's stylistic distinctions, from early polyphony to the almost crude-sounding secular rondeau of Dufay to the elegant Clemens non Papa motet Pastores loquebantur. Further, the program is divided into logical sections that relate to the music's function and association with the various feasts of Christmas, from the Masses for Christmas Day and St. Stephen to the Feasts of the Holy Innocents, St. Thomas, and the Circumcision (the First of January).

As we've come to expect, the singing is first-rate--vibrant, impeccably tuned, and with a strong rhythmic vitality, supported by ideal sound. And although it will be the rare listener who recognizes any of these works, that actually is a good thing: what can be wrong with stretching our knowledge and experience a little bit, especially when it comes to a tradition so comfortable and familiar as Christmas? [11/15/2006]

– David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1. Vox in Rama by Jacobus Clemens non Papa
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orlando Consort
Period: Renaissance 
2. Christe redemptor omnium by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orlando Consort
Period: Medieval 
3. Lux refulget by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orlando Consort
Period: Medieval 
4. O admirabile commercium by Loyset Compère
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orlando Consort
Period: Renaissaince 
Written: France 
5. Ce jour de l'an by Guillaume Dufay
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orlando Consort
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 15th Century; France 
6. Noe, noe, noe by Antoine Brumel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orlando Consort
Period: Renaissance 
Written: France 
7. Pastores loquebantur by Jacobus Clemens non Papa
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orlando Consort
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1555; Netherlands 
8. Noel, noel by Antoine Busnois
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orlando Consort
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 15th Century; France 
9. Nato canunt omnia by Antoine Brumel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orlando Consort
Period: Renaissance 
Written: France 
10. Ave rex angelorum by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orlando Consort
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 15th Century; England 
11. Lullay, lullow: I saw a swete semly syght by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orlando Consort
Period: Medieval 
Written: 14th Century; England 
12. Tout mon désir by Arnold De Lantins
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orlando Consort
Period: Renaissaince 

Featured Sound Samples

O primus homo corruit (Aquitanian)
Noe, noe, noe (Brumel)
Lullay, lullow: I saw a swete semly syght (Anonymous)

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