9 Sept 2019
The Orlando Consort
David Fallows called them a ‘dream team’(Gramophone Awards shortlist 2014, p 23), Fabrice Fitch described their fourth Machaut album in this series as ‘ one bulls eye after another (Gramophone Awards shortlist 2018, p 20) and it will come as little surprise that now I’m about to lace them with more compliments. I love a big recording project planned with superb scholarship, lively programming and consistent performances and this Machaut series on Hyperion has it all.
I particularly like the interplay of tenors in the 3voice motet Bone pastor Guillerme / Bone pastor, qui pastores / Bone pastor. It is unusual to have all three voices starting with the same words but The Orlando Consort again avoid taking this as a cue to smooth performance: keeping the tempo brisk, and the words crisp they make the most of the harmonic throb where Guillerme’s head is adorned with a Mitre. Again, the results are arresting and immediate, particularly when compared to the smoother, ethereal approach of, say, Musica Nova (AECD 1108, 2002). Having said that there are also moments of great intimacy such as the Rondeau Merci vous pri an exercise in delicately imploring a lady of high birth.
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