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Machaut: Motets

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.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/30/2004
Label: Ecm Records
UPC: 0028947240228
catalogNumber: 000185902
Rank: 200842


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

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