Classics Reconsidered: Machaut

Machaut Messe de Nostre Dame 
Taverner Choir and Consort / Andrew Parrott 
Erato (orig EMI/HMV Re lexe)

Edward Breen and Fabrice Fitch revisit the pioneering 1983 recording of Machaut’s Mass by Andrew Parrott and his Taverner Choir and Consort

Edward Breen I remember exactly where I was when I first heard this Mass. Christopher Page played an extract on BBC Radio 3’s Spirit of the Age in a 1993 interview with Andrew Parrott marking 20 years of the Taverner Choir, Consort and Players. I’m fairly sure they talked about the decision to perform this music a cappella, but I’d already heard the Hilliard Ensemble’s 1987 recording so the point seemed obvious. Yet something about the absolute confidence of blend and tuning struck me to the extent that I wrote to Broadcasting House for the programme fact sheet, and it then became the first CD I ever owned. I had a similar sensation when I first heard Glenn Gould: all the fussiness of classical music performance seemed to have been eliminated, and the musical texture was completely exposed and clear.


For the full text of this article please visit: Gramophone June 2024


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