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Machaut: Motets

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Audio CD, March 30, 2004
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Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Machaut: De souspirant cuer M2 3:37$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Machaut: Fine Amour, qui me vint navrer M3 2:40$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Machaut: Puis que la douce rousée M4 3:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Machaut: Qui plus aimme M5 3:47$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Machaut: Lasse! je sui en aventure M7 4:22$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Machaut: Ha! Fortune M8 2:38$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Machaut: O livoris feritas M9 3:17$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Machaut: Helas! où sera pris confors M10 2:25$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Machaut: Fins cuers dous M11 3:16$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Machaut: Eins que ma dame d'onnour M13 2:55$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Machaut: Faus Samblant m'a deceü M14 3:23$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Machaut: Se j'aim mon loyal ami M16 3:51$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. Machaut: Bone pastor M18 3:15$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. Machaut: Diligenter inquiramus M19 3:41$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen15. Machaut: Biauté parée de valour M20 2:23$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen16. Machaut: Veni creator spiritus M21 5:00$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen17. Machaut: Plange, regni respublica M22 3:31$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen18. Machaut: Inviolata genitrix M23 4:26$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Jan Garbarek and the Hilliard Ensemble’s inspired collaboration began in 1993 with the groundbreaking recording Officium and has resulted in consistently inventive music making ever since. At that first meeting Garbarek’s saxophone, soaring as a free-ranging ‘fifth voice’ with the a cappella Ensemble, gave the first indications of the musical scope and emotional power ... Read more in Amazon's Hilliard Ensemble Store

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Frequently Bought Together

Machaut: Motets + Machaut: Messe de Notre Dame + Leonin, Perotin: Sacred Music from Notre-Dame Cathedral
Price for all three: $45.85

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Product Details

  • Performer: Hilliard Ensemble
  • Composer: Guillaume de Machaut
  • Audio CD (March 30, 2004)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: ECM Records
  • ASIN: B0001A7D3G
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #165,046 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Celebrating their 30th anniversary, the Hilliard Ensemble turns to the Motets of Machaut, 18 exquisitely wrought works that explore a wide range of human emotions within the context of a timeless style, as piercing today as it must have been to 14th Century Parisians. The texts range from darker variations of courtly romances to the vagaries of love and fortune, reflections on envy, deceit, morality, death, and salvation. Machaut clothes these in long, flowing musical lines, often florid ones whose complex patterns reveal bold harmonic twists and turns, an exhilarating combination of austerity and rich complexity. The Hilliard Ensemble--here five well-tuned voices, two countertenors, two tenors, and baritone--sing with an intensity often missing from more formalistic performances of medieval music, though never violating stylistic strictures. Perhaps these short masterpieces best retain their freshness when heard in chunks of three or four, but there's no question this is an essential acquisition for lovers of early music. Completing the recommendation, the engineers beautifully capture the glow of the church acoustic. --Dan Davis

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Charles Richards on April 8, 2004
Format: Audio CD
The Hilliard Ensemble was founded by Paul Hillier thirty years ago, a small male choir specializing in vocal music of the Mediaval and Renaissance periods. Although they've strayed a bit from their original purpose in those thirty years, recording modern music more and more frequently (as well as having several compositions comissioned for them) and even releasing a billboard-charting crossover album about ten years ago (the beautiful "Officium"), in this new release they get back to their early music roots.
And, I'm happy to say, they still sound as wonderful as ever.
Guillaume Machaut was one of the most versatile composers of his time, writing polyphonic music for the church, chansons, motets, and monodic songs and virelais as well. He's one of the few composers of the time whose work survives in bulk, and one of the few whose life was even close to being documented. Because of that, he has a sort of aura about him as one of the first "professional" composers that we know of. His music is brilliant, diversified, and soul-wrenching.
His motets are highly representational, not only of his secular output in particular, but of the motet form of the high Renaissance in general. They are almost always in three parts (the duplum, triplum, and tenor) with each part having a different text; in many cases, the texts, sung simultaneously, are extremely different in character and subject, which makes them all the more fascinating.
There is a great sadness to Machaut's motets, and the Hilliard Ensemble captures this sublime melancholy perfectly.
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49 of 53 people found the following review helpful By amc654 on December 14, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Frankly, this disc sounds very little like Machaut and very much like the Hilliard Ensemble (and even more like ECM). To be sure, it's lovely singing, and it is certainly well recorded (though ECM's penchant for 9" reverb does seem quite silly), but the wash of sound favored by the Hilliard Ensemble is very much out of place here, I think (much better in the legitimately choral works of the late Renaissance). The tempi are too slow, the articulation is too smooth, and performance practice too Anglicized. For a better, more appropriately performed Machaut, look to the fantastic Project Ars Nova disc on new albion.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Abell on January 19, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Can something be too beautiful? The Hilliard Ensemble's creamy vocal tone and beautiful intonation make all of their recordings a sensual and delicious experience. But is that really the best approach to Machaut's motets? 14th-century French music has lots of rhythmic angularities, and surprisingly harsh sonorities (involving parallel fourths). These sharp edges seem to have been sanded off in the Hilliard's version, as if they couldn't bear to sacrifice their luscious vocal sound for the sake of the composer's slightly knotty style. As much as I admire these singers (it all sounds incredibly lovely), I prefer my Machaut from groups like Ensemble Organum, who sound more like folk-singers, in their raw, vibrato-free style. People who like beautiful singing will probably love this recording, but I think this music is better represented by a little rough treatment.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By S. Gustafson on May 20, 2006
Format: Audio CD
The Hilliard Ensemble seems to want to treat these secular Machaut motets, whose lyrics all involve courtly love themes, as sacred music.

A purely vocal performance of this material is, of course, as justifiable as any other performance practice we can surmise for this fourteenth century music. The Hilliards appear to treat some of the lines as vocal drones, and emphasize a single line above it, treating Machaut much as you would expect to treat a discant over a piece of chant in the Notre-Dame school organum. This tends to obscure what made Machaut an innovative and original composer. Machaut was one of the first composers to write -complex- polyphony, and this practice seems to treat some of Machaut's lines as being of secondary interest.

The heavy reverb in the recording, which has been noted below, adds a reverent tone. This, too, seems a bit off: it makes the music sound remote and unearthly, as if sung in the crypt of a stone church. Even given that Machaut was a churchman attached to the cathedral at Rheims, an ecclesiastical performance of this courtly love material seems somewhat unlikely.

That said, it is very pleasant to listen to. But for those who want a purely vocal performance of Machaut's secular motets, recordings such as that by Summerly's Oxford Camerata of -Le Voir Dit- make it somewhat clearer what is going on in Machaut's music.
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