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Pérotin And The Ars Antiqua / The Hilliard Ensemble


Release Date: 03/13/2007 
Label:  Coro   Catalog #: 16046   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  AnonymousPérotin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hilliard Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 56 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



PÉROTIN AND THE ARS ANTIQUA The Hilliard Ens CORO 16046 (68:13 Text and Translation) Live: Cambridge 8/1/1996


PEROTINUS Viderunt omnes. Sederunt principes. Alleluia nativitas. LEONINUS (?) Gloria redemptori meo. ANON Vetus abit littera. Deus misertus hominis. Veni creator spiritus. Haec dies. Read more Stirps Jesse. Mundus vergens. Procurans odium. GREGORIAN CHANT Christus surrexit


This is a valuable reissue, the first of four discs recorded in concert by the Hilliard Ensemble and issued on their own Hilliard Live label. Packaged in an unusual format similar in size to a book, they were available only at the group’s concerts and online from their Web site. I was fortunate to obtain review copies of all four and now look forward to their reappearance on this label, already announced. I included this disc in my checklist of recommended early polyphony ( Notes , March 2002, pp. 649–56).


The remarkable aspect of this recording, made at Trinity College, Cambridge, on August 1, 1996, is the chance to hear live, unedited performances of the two great organa quadrupla by Perotinus. (Perotinus, the only name known from the 13th-century source, is now the accepted citation; Pérotin was formulated by Coussemaker only in the 19th century.) The two masterpieces were the bookends of the Hilliard’s all-Perotinus program on the ECM label (13:4), made in 1988 when Paul Hillier was still with the group. The recorded history of these two works is a revelation in performance practice, for it started with Viderunt directed by Wladimir Fedorov on L’Oiseau-Lyre shellac discs in 1950 and Paul Boepple’s Dessoff Choirs on Concert Hall LP a year or two later. Both used instrumental accompaniment and the latter was incredibly unstylish even by the standards of its time. It was followed by Roger Blanchard’s ensemble on Ducretet-Thomson in 1957, using an organ on the tenor line. Sederunt was first recorded by Safford Cape’s Pro Musica Antiqua for Archiv in 1956 without instruments, followed a year later by Russell Oberlin and friends on Expériences Anonymes, including Seymour Barab’s viol on the tenor line.


Next came two famous recordings of both Viderunt and Sederunt . The Deller Consort in 1960 and David Munrow’s Early Music Consort in 1975 were each acclaimed in turn, but they typified the lavish use of instruments that marked that era, more excessive than any previous versions. Since then, we have had mostly unaccompanied performances of the pair of works, including these two Hilliard discs and recent versions (not paired) by the Orlando Consort on Metronome and Archiv and Dominique Vellard’s Ensemble Gilles Binchois on two Harmonic discs. Most recently Tonus Peregrinus recorded both works (29:2). Single recordings include Paul Hillier’s Theatre of Voices for Viderunt on Harmonia Mundi (26:1), a new Hilliard Ensemble version of the same work included in a DVD album, and Luis Lozano Virumbrales’s Grupo de Música Alfonso el Sabio for Sederunt on Sony Iberica. The Hilliard’s new approach is similar in interpretation to the ECM version, but the singing is decidedly more restrained. Just hear how the polyphonic beginning of Viderunt builds up to a powerful climax before the chant continuation enters on ECM, then hear the more straightforward way the music unfolds on this disc.


The rest of the program consists of conducti, or processional songs, original texts not drawn from the chant repertoire. Three such works for four voices survive, and all three are included here, along with two three-voice conducti. Most of these pieces are not familiar on records. The Alleluia nativitas of Perotinus is the only other piece carried over from the ECM disc. There is a puzzling bit of the original issue omitted this time. At the end of Sederunt on the older issue, the track continues for three minutes of silence followed by an unidentified piece of two minutes’ duration. The countdown of the last track (if that shows on your player) is the giveaway, as is the different total timing of the two discs. Since I don’t recognize the piece, I can’t say it’s any loss. Altogether, this is an interesting collection, even if you have the ECM disc already.


FANFARE: J. F. Weber
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Works on This Recording

1. Vetus abit littera by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hilliard Ensemble
Period: Medieval 
Language: Latin 
2. Deus misertus hominis by Pérotin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hilliard Ensemble
Period: Medieval 
Language: Latin 
3. Veni creator spiritus by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hilliard Ensemble
Period: Medieval 
Written: after 1300; France 
Language: Latin 
4. Viderunt omnes by Pérotin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hilliard Ensemble
Period: Medieval 
Written: circa 1200; France 
Language: Latin 
5. Hec est clara dies by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hilliard Ensemble
Period: Medieval 
Language: Latin 
6. Stirps Jesse virgam produxit by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hilliard Ensemble
Period: Medieval 
Language: Latin 
7. Mundus vergens by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hilliard Ensemble
Period: Medieval 
Language: Latin 
8. Carmina burana: no 12, Procurans odium by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hilliard Ensemble
Period: Medieval 
Written: France 
Language: Latin 
9. Alleluia nativitas by Pérotin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hilliard Ensemble
Period: Medieval 
Written: circa 1200; France 
Language: Latin 
10. Surrexit Christus by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hilliard Ensemble
Period: Medieval 
Language: Latin 
11. Sederunt principes by Pérotin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hilliard Ensemble
Period: Medieval 
Written: circa 1200; France 
Language: Latin 

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