Machaut: Motets

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - EJ Johnson
Cleric, poet, and composer Guillaume de Machaut was the star of the Ars Nova, the avant-garde movement of 14th-century France, and his music can still sound surprisingly modern, with its pointed dissonances and intricate, interlocking rhythms. He was a master of the isorhythmic motet, a complex, virtuosic, and highly intellectual musical form in which several texts are sung simultaneously on different melodies, underpinned by a slow-moving cantus firmus a pre-existing chant. This important recording collects most of Machaut's surviving motets 18 of the 23, including all of the final 5 -- those associated with Reims Cathedral and presents them in the same order as in ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - EJ Johnson
Cleric, poet, and composer Guillaume de Machaut was the star of the Ars Nova, the avant-garde movement of 14th-century France, and his music can still sound surprisingly modern, with its pointed dissonances and intricate, interlocking rhythms. He was a master of the isorhythmic motet, a complex, virtuosic, and highly intellectual musical form in which several texts are sung simultaneously on different melodies, underpinned by a slow-moving cantus firmus a pre-existing chant. This important recording collects most of Machaut's surviving motets 18 of the 23, including all of the final 5 -- those associated with Reims Cathedral and presents them in the same order as in Machaut's own manuscript. For early music followers, that fact alone is plenty of enticement to pick up this CD, yet the Hilliard Ensemble's performance is also a revelation. Just as on their recording of music by Perotin and his 13th-century contemporaries, the Hilliards turn Machaut's remote-sounding music into something extraordinarily beautiful, singing with a refinement and assurance that only an ensemble of their stature and know-how can summon. They adopt relaxed tempos and smooth out the rough edges, concealing dissonance in a veil of seamless texture while maintaining clear diction. It's a striking and compelling recording of music that often seems stubbornly obscure, and for that reason is the best window yet into this remarkable repertoire from a key medieval artist.
All Music Guide - James Manheim
The motets of Guillaume de Machaut 1300-1377 are complicated works. Even casual listeners will notice that each of the three lines of music has its own text -- one rapid and wordy, one moderate in speed, and one just a few words long. Musically they contain structural intricacies to which scholars devote pleasant lifetimes of research in old French libraries. Yet the interpretation of even music as arcane as this depends on the spirit of the age. Rationalists of earlier decades performed Machaut with rather harsh exactitude, seeking to clarify the subtle repetition schemes of Machaut's motets and polyphonic songs. But the Hilliard Ensemble, of the Self generation, focuses on Machaut as a creative figure with, to quote the liner notes, "a morbidly sensitive inner life." The notes allude to the possible religious symbolism of Machaut's convoluted language of courtly love, but what we get in practice are gorgeous, emotive readings that make these works sound a bit like Gesualdo madrigals. Of course, nobody can coax the impact out of a dissonance like the Hilliard Ensemble. Countertenors David James and David Gould shape Machaut's almost Faulknerian top-voice syntax into affecting emotional statements, and even listeners new to medieval music will become ensnared in the poet's quest for the slightest glance of regard from his unattainable Lady. One complaint: since this music draws interest from the puzzling relationships among a piece's various texts, the booklet should have been designed so that the listener could follow those texts simultaneously. Still, it's been a while since a major disc of Machaut motets was released this disc contains 18 pieces, a few of them sacred, and if the Hilliard Ensemble doesn't close the book on this music, they nevertheless interpret it beautifully for our times.
New York Times - Allan Kozinn
These are exquisite works.... The five Hilliard singers render these pieces beautifully, in the smoothly blended sound that has become the ensemble's trademark.
Gramophone - David Fallows
Superbly done.
Time Out New York - Anastasia Tsioulcas
[The Hilliard Ensemble's] long experience with this composer's oeuvre infuses its performances with a sense of mastery and true kinship.... The beauty and grace of the ensemble's sound transcends any worry that the project will appeal only to specialists.

These are exquisite works.... The five Hilliard singers render these pieces beautifully, in the smoothly blended sound that has become the ensemble's trademark.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/30/2004
  • Label: Ecm Records
  • UPC: 028947240228
  • Catalog Number: 000185902
  • Sales rank: 197,323

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Tous corps/De souspirant cuer/Suspiro, motet for 3 voices - Guillaume de Machaut & Guillaume de Machaut (3:37)
  2. 2 He, Mors, com tu es haïe/Fine Amour, quie me vint navrer/Quare non sum mortuus, motet for 3 voices - Guillaume de Machaut & Guillaume de Machaut (2:40)
  3. 3 De bon espoir/Puis que la douce/Speravi, motet for 3 voices - Guillaume de Machaut & Guillaume de Machaut (3:58)
  4. 4 Aucune gent/Qui plus aimme/Fiat voluntas tua, motet for 4 voices - Guillaume de Machaut & Guillaume de Machaut (3:47)
  5. 5 J'ay tant mon coeur/Lasse! Je suis en aventure/Ego moriar pro te, motet for 3 voices - Guillaume de Machaut & Guillaume de Machaut (4:22)
  6. 6 Qui es promesses de Fortune/Ha, Fortune! trop suis mis loing/Et non est qui adjuvet, motet for 3 voices - Guillaume de Machaut & Guillaume de Machaut (2:38)
  7. 7 Fons tocius superbie/O livoris feritas/Fera pessima, motet for 3 voices - Guillaume de Machaut & Guillaume de Machaut (3:17)
  8. 8 Hareu, hareu, le feu/Helas, ou sera/Obediens usque ad mortem, motet for 3 voice parts - Guillaume de Machaut & Guillaume de Machaut (2:25)
  9. 9 Dame, je sui cilz/Fins cuers doulz/(tenor), motet for 3 voices - Guillaume de Machaut & Guillaume de Machaut (3:16)
  10. 10 Tant doucement m'ont attrait/Eins que ma dame/Ruina, motet for 3 voices - Guillaume de Machaut & Guillaume de Machaut (2:55)
  11. 11 Amours qui ha le povoir/Faus samblant/Vidi dominum, motet for 3 voices - Guillaume de Machaut & Guillaume de Machaut (3:23)
  12. 12 Lasse! comment oublieray/Se j'aim mon loyal/Pour quoy me bat mes maris?, motet for 3 voices - Guillaume de Machaut & Guillaume de Machaut (3:51)
  13. 13 Bone pastor Guillerme/Bone pastor qui pastores/(tenor), motet for 3 voices - Guillaume de Machaut & Guillaume de Machaut (3:15)
  14. 14 Martyrum gemma latria/Diligenter inquiramus/A Christo honoratus, motet for 3 voices - Guillaume de Machaut & Guillaume de Machaut (3:41)
  15. 15 Trop plus est bele/Biaute paree/Je ne sui mie, motet for 3 voices - Guillaume de Machaut & Guillaume de Machaut (2:23)
  16. 16 Christe que lux es/Veni Creator Spiritus/Tribulatio proxima est, motet for 4 voices - Guillaume de Machaut & Guillaume de Machaut (5:00)
  17. 17 Tu qui gregem/Plange, regni/Apprehende arma et scutum et exurge, motet for 4 voices - Guillaume de Machaut & Guillaume de Machaut (3:31)
  18. 18 Felix virgo/Inviolata genitrix/Ad te suspiramus, motet for 4 voices - Guillaume de Machaut & Guillaume de Machaut (4:26)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
The Hilliard Ensemble Primary Artist
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