Note: A sound sample for this release can be heard in the above clip at 2:00 - 2:24.
Notes and Editorial Reviews
The Chansonnier Cordiforme is a songbook, probably copied in 1475 for a roguish but musically cultivated priest named Jean de Montchenu - a contemporary chronicler called him "dissolute and full of all the vices". The beautiful marnuscript containing 43 songs is, uniquely, heart-shaped and covered in velvet. This recording presents both a representative cross-section of the manuscript's repertoire, the majority of which is set to French texts and is among the best known and beautiful of the age, and a portfolio of differing performance options including instruments. In addition to works by such luminaries as Gilles Binchois and Johannes Ockeghem - music of elegant melody, textural refinement, and sometimes startling harmonic turnsRead more - there are ingenious and anonymous parodies of popular songs.
The performers sensibly take a pragmatic approach to the heated debate as to precisely how these pieces were performed and use a mixture of voices and instruments, with occasional a cappella renditions. I loved these accounts, which are both musically expressive and eloquent in an unhurried way. Binningen provides just the right resonance for full enjoyment of this lovely music.