> Leonardo da Vinci - Music of His Time [KS]: Classical CD Reviews- July2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Leonardo da Vinci: Music of His Time
Twenty-three selections taken from previous Naxos releases by composers that were contemporaries of Leonardo da Vinci - including Josquin DESPRES, Heinrich ISAAC and Guillaume DUFAY
Guillaume DUFAY

Helas mon dueil
Ensemble Unicorn, Vienna

Carmen a 5
La mi lasol
Ensemble Villanella
Alexander AGRICOLA

Soit loing ou pres
De tous biens plaine
Ay je rien fet
Ensemble Unicorn, Vienna/Michael Posch

Faute d'argent
The Scholars of London
Mille regretz

Stat ein Meskin
Ensemble Villanella
Joan Ambrosio DALZA

Tastar de corde
Shirley Rumsey, lute
Marchetto CARA

Mal un muta per effecto
Shirley Rumsey, lute

A la guerra a la guerra
Shirley Rumsey, lute
Marco Dall AQUILA

La traditora
Shirley Rumsey, lute

Scaramella va alla guerra
El grillo
Shirley Rumsey, lute

L'homme armé
Oxford Camerata/Jeremy Summerley
Guillaume DUFAY

Kyrie (Missa L'homme arme)
Oxford Camerata/Jeremy Summerley

Salve Regina (six-part)
Oxford Camerata/Jeremy Summerley

Absalon, fili mi
Kyrie (Missa L'homme arme)
Agnus Dei (Missa L'homme arme)
Oxford Camerata/Jeremy Summerley

L'homme armé
Oxford Camerata/Jeremy Summerley
Various artists
Various recording dates
NAXOS 8.558057 [74:42]

Naxos wins the concept of the year award as far as I can tell for this splendid and informative series of discs matching the lives and works of great visual artists with the music of their times. Perhaps the most commendable aspect of this series of recordings is the excellent, detailed and informative booklet that comes with each disc. The fact that the music is wonderful and the recordings superb is a double bonus, not to mention taxing my assortment of superlatives.

Leonardo da Vinci, though self-taught as a painter, was one of the most complex scientific and artistic personalities of his age. His life coincided with some of the great masters of the early Renaissance, including Josquin Despres, Heinrich Isaac and Guillaume Dufay. Da Vinci lived through and contributed to one of history’s greatest epochs for art, letters, scientific advancement and architecture.

Naxos have brought together a delightful collection of music, both vocal and instrumental. It would be difficult to single out any of these fine recordings, especially since most of the selections last fewer than five minutes, but there are a few standouts. The Scholars of London’s rendition of Josquin’s Faute d’argent; The Oxford Camerata’s Absolon fili mi, from the same composer, and the stunning six part setting of Salve Regina from Jakob Obrecht, also performed by the Oxford Camerata are particularly noteworthy for the clarity of delivery and the sheer beauty and artistry of the singing. The instrumental selections on the collection are on the whole crisp and cleanly played, and the unusual colour of these ancient instruments is refreshing to hear.

I can do nothing but heartily recommend this disc and from the look of things thus far, this entire series is going to be a sure winner for anyone interested in comparative arts. I would buy the discs for the artists’ biographies/essays alone, but having this mini-encyclopedia with an accompanying soundtrack makes the whole set completely irresistible.

Kevin Sutton

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