£16 post free World-wide

 


555 sonatas 9Cds mp3 files
Only £22


 


Benjamin: Written on Skin £16

Search
What's New
Previous CDs
Concerts
Jazz
Nostalgia
Composers
Resources
Announce
Labels index


Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



CD REVIEW

Some items
to consider


BRAHMS Complete Edition
58CD £95.22


Shostakovich 14 Petrenko


Rachmaninov #3
Prokofiev #2

 


Dunedin Consort

Peter Grimes

Hymn of Jesus: Sea Drift

Complete Mozart Edition
Mozart complete edition

Vaughan Williams Symphonies 5 & 8 £11

Weiner, Klepper, Bloch, Schulhoff £12 post free


Available again

alternatively
Crotchet  AmazonUK   AmazonUS

 

Guillaume DUFAY (1397–1474)
Mass for St. James the Greater [41.08]
Rite majorem Jacobum canamus [4.19]
Balsamus et munda cera [4.31]
Gloria [5.52]
Credo [6.50]
Apostolo glorioso [3.47]
Binchois Consort/Andrew Kirkman
rec. Rickmansworth Masonic School Chapel, 16-18 July 1997
HYPERION HELIOS CDH55272 [66.53]
Experience Classicsonline


The one surviving copy of Dufay’s complete Mass for St. James the Greater dates from the late 1420s and was made in the Veneto. This has lent credence to the idea that the mass was associated with the Bishop of Vicenza, Pietro Emiliani.  Emiliani paid for pilgrims to go to Compostela, the influential centre of veneration for the cult of St. James.
 
On the other hand, Dufay’s motet Rite Majorem which has audible stylistic links to the mass, includes an acrostic on the name of Robert Auclou who was curate at the church of St. Jacques de la Boucherie in Paris during the 1420s; the church was a well-known starting-off point for pilgrims. It is here that links begin to enter the realms of the fanciful. The communion motet in Dufay’s mass is set using the fauxbourdon technique; before leaving mass Pilgrims would have their staffs or bourdons blessed, thus making some commentators suggest a punning link.
 
In fact, the whole mass might not have been written for St. James at all as the only text which refers to the Saint directly is the Alleluia. Dufay may have written the piece originally for a different venue, even if it is still associated with Robert Auclou.
 
Whatever its origins, the mass is a remarkable piece written at a time when complete polyphonic masses were something of a novelty. Certainly, at the time Dufay was writing it there were not the sort of standardised procedures for linking movements familiar to later composers. This means that, on first hearing, it can sound a little disparate. This is partly because Dufay sets both the ordinary and the propers and has tailored each movement to its specific location. But we can detect him repeating motivic ideas throughout the mass, suggesting that the work was written as a whole.
 
This mass is not part of the group of cantus firmus masses from later in Dufay’s career and seems to have been little recorded. Perhaps this is partly because this apparent disparity between the movements can make the work seem difficult to bring off.
 
On this recording, originally released in 1998 and recently re-issued on Hyperion, Andrew Kirkman and the Binchois Consort seem to make light of the work’s difficulties. In Kirkman’s hands the Mass holds together in a remarkable way, the different movements contrasting but complementing each other to form a remarkable 40 minute span of music.
 
Speeds seem entirely apposite and it helps that Kirkman and his singers have an infectious way with Dufay’s rhythms. At a certain point you stop worrying about the disparate movements and settle down to enjoy the brilliant musicality of the performance. The eight singers of the consort all have distinctive voices, this is no blandly homogenised ensemble; each line is vividly characterised, but complementary so that the whole is understandable and richly textured.
 
I had great enthusiasm for Kirkman and the Binchois Consort’s recording of Dufay’s Mass for St. Antony of Padua, included on another Hyperion reissue. And everything I said about that performance applies here as well. This is surely one of those discs to be played to people who perhaps remain unconvinced about music from this period.
 
The associated motet Rite Majorem, includes a text which details St. James’s life and miracles. It is one of those complexly organised pieces, with two different texts and a use of isorhythm. But Dufay turns what could be an icy academic exercise into a dazzlingly passionate piece which receives a suitable performance from the consort. Of equal complexity of organisation is the motet Balsamus et munda cera, though this is not related to St. James. Unusually, the first performance of this can be dated accurately to 7 April 1431 as it was written for a particular ritual which took place in the first year of a Pope’s reign and then every seven years.
 
Also included on the disc are the Gloria and Credo which use quotations from popular songs in their long Amens. And there is also Dufay’s extrovert Apostolo glorioso which concludes the disc in a fittingly brilliant manner.
 
Robert Hugill
 


 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
CDAccord
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools




Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.