10 Aug 2019

Messes de Barcelone et d'Apt

Messes de Barcelone et d'Apt
Ensemble Gilles Binchois, Dominique Vellard
Evidence Classics EVCD060


This programme is built around two mass settings and two manuscripts thought to preserve polyphonic music from the Papal liturgy at Avignon around 1400. The first mass is the ‘Messe De Barcelone’ whilst not a cyclic mass it contains two troped movements, Gloria and Sanctus, which create a pleasing symmetry around a substantial credo (tantalisingly labelled as by ‘Sortes’). Performing in a combination of voices, vielles and gittern, Ensemble Gilles Binchois cultivate an attractively unhurried, brooding quality; particularly in the hymn-like Kyrie which showcases the rich vocal quality of the singers. Compared with a relatively recent performance by Capella de Ministrers / Carles Magraner (CdM 08/15) this is a conservative, but sensitive offering. The Gloria has a nicely varied texture with surprisingly mellifluous tropes given over to countertenor and vielles. The Credo is performed with alternating groups of lower voices emphasising the gravitas of this large central movement. Characterised by gentle reedy countertenors and bright, light tenors, this ensemble has lots of vocal personality; they keep phrases buoyant whilst generally avoiding an accelerating towards those delightfully angular Ars Nova cadences.

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To read the full text of this article please visit www.gramophone.co.uk (Sept 2019)

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