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Dreams in the Pleasure Garden

Guillaume de Machaut , Orlando Consort Audio CD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Performer: Guillaume de Machaut, Orlando Consort
  • Audio CD (January 12, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Polygram Records
  • ASIN: B00000HY9J
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #375,636 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Chansons: Tant doucement
2. Chansons: Comment puet on
3. Chansons: De Fortune
4. Chansons: Mors sui
5. Chansons: Se quanque amours
6. Chansons: Je ne cuit pas
7. Chansons: Liement me deport
8. Chansons: Je puis trop bien
9. Chansons: Certes mon oueil
10. Chansons: En amer a douce vie
11. Chansons: He! Dame de valour
12. Chansons: Une Vipere
13. Chansons: Ma fin est mon commencement
14. Chansons: De toutes flours

Editorial Reviews

Just when you think you know somebody, some uncharacteristic behavior shows itself and you instantly realize that you have more to learn. Such an enlightening occurrence is bound to happen for listeners to this disc accustomed to hearing the "memorable tunes, regular phrasing, and clear harmony" of Machaut's most commonly performed works. Here, the four-member Orlando Consort--alto, two tenors, and baritone--happily and with masterful ease introduce us to the "other" Machaut, one of irregular phrases, lively syncopated rhythms, and long flowing melodies that interact contrapuntally with two or three other vocal lines. The melodic structure often consists of cleverly intertwined strings of suspensions followed by quick resolutions, giving a jumpy impetus to many lengthy passages and entire songs. Among these 14 secular songs are many beautiful poetic texts and some notable melodies, but, interestingly, Machaut didn't attempt to fit music with textual meaning. For us, it remains just to listen--and perhaps to read the words separately--and we are rewarded with some of the 14th century's most sensuous, intriguing, and exotic music. --David Vernier

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting music, great singing December 19, 1999
By "hcf"
Format:Audio CD
The music on this CD represents the style of composition prevalent in the mid-14th century, the so called ars nova. This style was notable for "hocketing" (i.e. oscillation between short notes and short rests in the upper voices), and even syncopation, but it also included a technique quite different from the ones just mentioned - the so called isorhythm (i.e. regularly repeating rhythmic and harmonic structures). Machaut was a great master of both of these facets of ars nova, but he was by no means the only one, as was demonstrated by a recent Clerks' recording of music from the Ivrea Codex (and if you ask me, the greatest master of isorhythm was John Dunstable). As the in-house reviewer mentions, the music on this disc is more idiosyncratic, less regular, more syncopated than the typical 14-th century musical output. Breaking the rules while perfecting the style has always been a sign of genius, in any age. The Orlando Consort give this music the recording it deserves (I must commend this group for carving out a niche for themselves despite the fact that the idea of having an all-male quartet sing early music so smacks of the Hilliard that it would seem to be a difficult act to follow). The voices blend exquisitely, combining the beauty of tone with an expert technique - even Robert Jones, whose voice I normally find rather harsh, sounds relatively mellow and seductive in this recording. Charles Daniels is great, as always: his solo piece, Liement me deport, is utterly delightful.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Even the Great Have Bad Ear Days September 26, 2008
Format:Audio CD
The Orlando Consort is Number One in my books - the very best vocal consort recording Renaissance and Medieval music today. Their CDs of John Dunstaple and Antoine Busnois set the gold standard for performance of polyphony. Thus I was quite excited when this recording was reissued. But the disappointment has been proportionate to the expectations.

A fatally flawed performance decision ruins this CD. These ballades, virelais, and rondos - not all merely chansons in a formal sense - are settings by Guillaume de Machaut of his own poetry. Machaut carefully "archived" his own works in a meticulous manuscript, for which reason we have more of his music than of any other 14th C composer. If any composer's 'intentions' should be respected, it is Machaut. Unfortunately, the Orlandos have chosen to sing the text only on one line of the three or four intertwining polyphonic parts. The other lines are vocalized on vowels. Even when sung in excellent tuning by beautiful voices, the result is a lot of hooting and swooping, totally without the rhythmic crunches of consonants that make Machaut lively. I'd be willing to take up a subscription to send the Orlandos back to the recording studio to do it right!
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