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Amours Me Fait Desirer - Machaut, Landini, Wolkenstein / Alta Musica

Machaut / Landini / Wolkenstein / Alta Musica
Release Date: 11/22/2011 
Label:  Talanton   Catalog #: 90004  
Composer:  AnonymousFrancesco LandiniGuillaume de MachautJacob de Senleches,   ... 
Conductor:  Rainer Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alta Musica
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



AMOURS ME FAIT DESIRER: Machaut, Landini, Wolkenstein Rainer Böhm, dir; Alta Musica Ens TALANTON 90004 (62:17 Text and Translation)


Music by ANONYMOUS, LANDINI, MACHAUT, SENLECHES, ROBERT, WOLKENSTEIN, PYKINI, CORDIER


The subtitle of this disc, “Machaut, Landini, Wolkenstein,” sounds more like a law firm than what it is: a disc demonstrating general characteristics of 14th-century secular music, as heard in the works of Read more a few of its more celebrated musicians. The contrast isn’t within the group itself—as there’s hardly enough material to accomplish that feat, given that we get four compositions by Machaut, three by Landini, and only two by Wolkenstein—but between a range of Ars Nova works and two anonymous pieces of the Ars Antiqua. This allows the performers to play off the rhythmic modes of the earlier period and the more expressive, polyphonic works and greater variety of secular forms (ballades, virelais, rondeaux) that took hold during the 14th century. It’s difficult to resist the delicacy of Senleches’s La Harpe de mélodie and the despairing melancholy of Machaut’s Amours me fait desirer , even when armed with the knowledge that Pope John XXII once issued a papal bull banishing the entirety of the new musical tide for its intoxicating and lewd effect on listeners.


If its website is correct, then this is the Alta Musica Ensemble’s first disc, despite its having been in existence since 1985. It began as a group dedicated to exploring the repertoire of the alta capella , the so-called loud ensembles of the Renaissance that included shawms, bombards, sackbuts, and the like. Somewhere along the line it expanded from four performers to nine, adding more instruments and singers to increase the breadth of its range. I’m taken by the precision, brightness, and clarity of the wind performances in such transcriptions as Pykini’s Plasanche or tost and the anonymous Hé, mi enfant . Soprano Maria Köpcke leaves me with a more mixed reaction. She has a lovely, light lyric instrument that sometimes goes unpleasantly white in its upper notes; as this is very different from her tonal quality elsewhere, I have to assume it is not deliberate. She manages fluid melismatic passages with consummate ease, but occasionally slurs (Landini’s Muort’ oramai ) in a manner that seems ungainly rather than intentional. I would have also wished for something expressive in Wolkenstein’s Es leucht durch graw along the lines of Anne Azéma, but Köpcke’s choice to do otherwise is an interpretative decision I can respect.


I don’t mean to give a negative impression of this album, in any case. It features excellent musicians in an attractive sampling of 14th-century secular music, with full original texts and English translations. The combination of alta capella and secular songs makes for good variety, and the instruments are pleasingly varied without ever leaving the sphere of authentic practice.


FANFARE: Barry Brenesal
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Works on This Recording

1.
Alleluya by Anonymous
Conductor:  Rainer Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alta Musica
Period: Renaissance 
2.
Non avrà ma'pietà by Francesco Landini
Conductor:  Rainer Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alta Musica
Period: Medieval 
Written: 14th Century; Italy 
3.
Je ne cesse de prier "Lai de la Fonteinne" by Guillaume de Machaut
Conductor:  Rainer Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alta Musica
Period: Medieval 
Written: 14th Century; France 
4.
La harpe de melodie by Jacob de Senleches
Conductor:  Rainer Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alta Musica
Period: Medieval 
Written: 14th Century; France 
5.
Hé, tres douce rossignol jolie by Jehan Robert
Conductor:  Rainer Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alta Musica
Written: ca. 1380 - ca. 1409; France 
6.
Je vivroie liement by Guillaume de Machaut
Conductor:  Rainer Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alta Musica
Period: Medieval 
Written: 14th Century; France 
7.
De toutes flours by Guillaume de Machaut
Conductor:  Rainer Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alta Musica
Period: Medieval 
Written: 14th Century; France 
8.
Amours me fait desirer by Guillaume de Machaut
Conductor:  Rainer Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alta Musica
Period: Medieval 
Written: 14th Century; France 
9.
Freu dich, du weltlich creatur, K 91 by Oswald von Wolkenstein
Conductor:  Rainer Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alta Musica
Period: Medieval 
Written: Germany 
10.
Hé, mi enfant by Anonymous
Conductor:  Rainer Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alta Musica
11.
Plasanche or tost by Pykini
Conductor:  Rainer Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alta Musica
Period: Medieval 
Written: 14th Century; France 
12.
Es leucht durch graw by Oswald von Wolkenstein
Conductor:  Rainer Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alta Musica
Period: Medieval 
Written: ca. 1377 - 1445 
13.
Istanpitta Ghaetta by Anonymous
Conductor:  Rainer Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alta Musica
14.
Che pena è quest'al cor by Francesco Landini
Conductor:  Rainer Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alta Musica
Period: Medieval 
Written: 14th Century; Italy 
15.
Se cuer d'amant par soy humilier by Baude Cordier
Conductor:  Rainer Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alta Musica
Period: Medieval 
Written: 15th Century; France 
16.
Muort'oramai by Francesco Landini
Conductor:  Rainer Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alta Musica
Period: Medieval 
Written: 14th Century; Italy 

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