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A Song for Francesca - Music in Italy 1330–1430 / Page, Gothic Voices

Gothic Voices / Page
Release Date: 09/13/2011 
Label:  Helios   Catalog #: 55291   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Andreas de FlorentiaAnonymousGiovanni da CasciaFrancesco Landini,   ... 
Performer:  John Mark AinsleyRogers Covey-CrumpLeigh NixonMargaret Philpot,   ... 
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

You’ll be beguiled and entranced.

This is one of the fine series of CDs which Christopher Page and his Gothic Voices made for Hyperion. The group were founded in 1980 and during the 1980s and 1990s made more than twenty recordings, starting with ‘A feather on the breath of God’ their influential and popular disc of music by Hildegard of Bingen.
 
This disc was made in 1987 and has recently been re-issued on Hyperion’s budget label. The disc’s title, A Song for Francesca comes from a monophonic balata Amor mi fa cantar a la Francesca whose title could either mean ‘Love makes me sing to Francesca’ or ‘Love makes me sing in the French style’. The disc’s theme is the contrast between
Read more the Italian and French styles of the period and the way the Italians of the early 1400s were interested in music by French and Northern European composers. So the first nine items are all Italian from 14 th century and the final ten items are French but from an Italian manuscript which may have originated in Venice so reflecting the kind of French music which the Italians were listening to.
 
The beguiling title track, Amor mi fa cantar a la Francesca comes from the earliest extant collection of secular Italian polyphony, a manuscript which derives from Padua and Verona in the 1330s and 1340s and probably reflects the sort of music that the young men and women in Boccaccio’s Decameron were listening to. This, like many of the Italian pieces on the disc is a two-part composition, where the florid and rather virtuosic upper voice is accompanied by a lower voice singing longer notes; though the word ‘accompanied’ is wrong because the two parts are of equal importance. This is particularly true as it is from the lower voice that we can get the full meaning of the text.
 
The later Italian tradition of polyphony is also represented; Andrew Lawrence King plays two solos (tracks 4 and 7) in this style and there are polyphonic ballate by Francesco Landini and Andreas de Florentia.
 
The French part of the disc starts in striking fashion with a 5-part motet; the one and only time on the disc when all five singers perform together. This 5-part form was very rare. All the parts are isorhythmic but the piece is delightfully consonant leading Christopher Page to wonder whether it might be by Dufay.
 
The remaining pieces are all in the rondeau form, dominant in France and Northern Europe and all but one are 3- or 4- part with a duet between the cantus and the tenor. Colour and rhythmic impetus come from the contra-tenor. These gracious and sometimes virtuosic songs come as a nice contrast to the Italian ones and they give you an interesting slant on Italian music making – the songs that Italians wrote and the songs that they sang by other composers.
 
One of the Northerners, Richard Loqueville, played the harp and so three of his songs are given in arrangements for harp played by Andrew Lawrence King.
 
The performances are very fine indeed, virtuosic when needed, and utterly beguiling. As is usual from Page and his group the performances are unaccompanied. The music is presented vividly and vibrantly but with no instrumental accompaniments to liven things up; in fact there is no need at all: the performances are lively enough and complete in themselves.
 
The singers are an impressive bunch, Margaret Philpot, Caroline Trevor, Rogers Covey-Crump, John Mark Ainsley and Leigh Nixon.
 
The CD booklet includes an article by Christopher Page and full texts and English translations.
 
Page and his group are brilliantly persuasive advocates of this music. Even if you think that a disc with the subtitle of “Music in Italy, 1330-1430” sounds a little dry, don’t be put off. When you play the disc you’ll be beguiled and entranced.
 
-- Robert Hugill, MusicWeb International [3/2012]
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Works on This Recording

1. Astio non mori mai by Andreas de Florentia
Performer:  John Mark Ainsley (Tenor), Rogers Covey-Crump (Tenor), Leigh Nixon (Tenor)
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Medieval 
Written: Italy 
Date of Recording: 09/1987 
Venue:  St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead, London 
Length: 2 Minutes 58 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
2. Per la ver'onestà by Andreas de Florentia
Performer:  Margaret Philpot (Alto), Rogers Covey-Crump (Tenor)
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Medieval 
Written: Italy 
Date of Recording: 09/1987 
Venue:  St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead, London 
Length: 3 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
3. Quando i oselli canta by Anonymous
Performer:  John Mark Ainsley (Tenor), Leigh Nixon (Tenor)
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Medieval 
Date of Recording: 09/1987 
Venue:  St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead, London 
Length: 1 Minutes 56 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
4. Constantia by Anonymous
Performer:  Andrew Lawrence-King (Harp)
Period: Medieval 
Written: Italy 
Date of Recording: 09/1982 
Venue:  St Jude-on-the Hill, Hampstead, London 
Length: 2 Minutes 58 Secs. 
5. Quando la stella by Giovanni da Cascia
Performer:  Leigh Nixon (Tenor), John Mark Ainsley (Tenor)
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Medieval 
Written: 14th Century; Italy 
Date of Recording: 09/1982 
Venue:  St Jude-on-the Hill, Hampstead, London 
Length: 3 Minutes 10 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
6. Amor mi fa cantar a la Francesca by Anonymous
Performer:  Rogers Covey-Crump (Tenor)
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Medieval 
Date of Recording: 09/1987 
Venue:  St Jude-on-the Hill, Hampstead, London 
Length: 3 Minutes 29 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
7. Non na el so amante by Anonymous
Performer:  Andrew Lawrence-King (Harp)
Period: Medieval 
Written: Italy 
Date of Recording: 09/1982 
Venue:  St Jude-on-the Hill, Hampstead, London 
Length: 2 Minutes 35 Secs. 
8. Ochi dolenti mie, ballata for 2 voices, S. 60 by Francesco Landini
Performer:  Rogers Covey-Crump (Tenor), Leigh Nixon (Tenor)
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Date of Recording: 09/1982 
Venue:  St Jude-on-the Hill, Hampstead, London 
Length: 2 Minutes 45 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
9. Per seguir la sperança by Francesco Landini
Performer:  Rogers Covey-Crump (Tenor), Leigh Nixon (Tenor), Margaret Philpot (Alto)
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Medieval 
Written: 14th Century; Italy 
Date of Recording: 09/1982 
Venue:  St Jude-on-the Hill, Hampstead, London 
Length: 3 Minutes 30 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
10. O regina seculi by Anonymous
Performer:  Margaret Philpot (Alto), Caroline Trevor (Alto), Rogers Covey-Crump (Tenor),
John Mark Ainsley (Tenor), Leigh Nixon (Tenor)
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Medieval 
Date of Recording: 09/1982 
Venue:  St Jude-on-the Hill, Hampstead, London 
Length: 2 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
11. Quel fronte signorille by Guillaume Dufay
Performer:  Margaret Philpot (Alto), Rogers Covey-Crump (Tenor), John Mark Ainsley (Tenor)
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 15th Century; France 
Date of Recording: 09/1982 
Venue:  St Jude-on-the Hill, Hampstead, London 
Length: 2 Minutes 31 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
12. Puisque je suy amoureux by Richard de Loqueville
Performer:  Andrew Lawrence-King (Harp)
Period: Medieval 
Date of Recording: 09/1982 
Venue:  St Jude-on-the Hill, Hampstead, London 
Length: 2 Minutes 52 Secs. 
13. Pour mesdisans ne pour leur faulx parler by Richard de Loqueville
Performer:  Andrew Lawrence-King (Harp)
Period: Medieval 
Date of Recording: 09/1982 
Venue:  St Jude-on-the Hill, Hampstead, London 
Length: 1 Minutes 49 Secs. 
14. Plaindre m'estuet by Hugo de Lantins
Performer:  Margaret Philpot (Alto), Rogers Covey-Crump (Tenor), Leigh Nixon (Tenor)
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Medieval 
Date of Recording: 09/1982 
Venue:  St Jude-on-the Hill, Hampstead, London 
Length: 4 Minutes 27 Secs. 
Language: French 
15. Je demande ma bienvenue by Johannes Haucourt
Performer:  Christopher Page (Harp), Margaret Philpot (Alto)
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Medieval 
Date of Recording: 09/1982 
Venue:  St Jude-on-the Hill, Hampstead, London 
Length: 1 Minutes 45 Secs. 
Language: French 
16. Confort d'amours by Anonymous
Performer:  Rogers Covey-Crump (Tenor), Caroline Trevor (Alto), Margaret Philpot (Alto),
Leigh Nixon (Tenor)
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Medieval 
Date of Recording: 09/1982 
Venue:  St Jude-on-the Hill, Hampstead, London 
Length: 3 Minutes 43 Secs. 
Language: French 
17. Qui ne veroit que vos deulx yeulx by Richard de Loqueville
Performer:  Andrew Lawrence-King (Harp)
Period: Medieval 
Date of Recording: 09/1982 
Venue:  St Jude-on-the Hill, Hampstead, London 
Length: 1 Minutes 8 Secs. 
18. Va t'ent souspir by Estienne Grossin
Performer:  Rogers Covey-Crump (Tenor), Margaret Philpot (Alto), Leigh Nixon (Tenor)
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Medieval 
Date of Recording: 09/1982 
Venue:  St Jude-on-the Hill, Hampstead, London 
Length: 1 Minutes 36 Secs. 
Language: French 

Featured Sound Samples

Ochi dolenti mie (Landini)
Quel fronte signorille (Dufay)

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Very Appealing Approach to Unusual Repertoire December 17, 2013 By David Horne (Cincinnati, OH) See All My Reviews "This music is transitional, in the style of Machaut, the 14th Century reaching toward the Renaissance, but before Dufay's purging music of its quintessentially medieval elements to produce modern music. This CD presents this unusual music with a very appealing interpretive style. I have another recording of this genre, and it sounds a bit jarring. I have never responded to that recording. This recording is very enjoyable. You hear the Middle Ages and Renaissance simultaneously in sensitive performances. Excellent material for playlists of early music, along with the Early Music Consort of London, the New York Ensemble for Early Music, Philip Picket, the magnificent Anne Azema, the Martin Best Ensemble, the Toronto Consort, the Waverly Consort, Canty, Ensemble Unicorn and Altramar. Follow that with madrigals and other vocal music by the King's Singers, the Boston Camerata, the Hilliard Ensemble, the Toronto Consort, Julianne Baird and Frederick Urrey, lute music by Paul O'Dette and Ron McFarlane and music for virginal by Colin Tilney, and you can have a list as diverse as it is delightful to hear." Report Abuse
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