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Masters of the Rolls Import

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Audio CD, Import, July 10, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

This reissue from Gothic Voices and Christopher Page - acknowledged as one of the finest performances of medieval music of the last twenty years - follows their many Gramophone Award-winning albums and celebrates the anonymous English composers of the fourteenth century. The combination of Page's tremendous scholarship, the simple beauty of the singing and the extraordinary freshness of the music is irresistible.


Product Details

  • Orchestra: Gothic Voices
  • Conductor: Christopher Page
  • Composer: None
  • Audio CD (July 10, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Hyperion
  • ASIN: B0081XYBVW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #398,827 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Schell on July 10, 2014
Format: Audio CD
As its subtitle attests, the focus of this album is English art music from the 14th century. This is interesting repertory, surviving in bits and pieces, and far less known today than the contemporaneous French Ars Nova that reached its apogee in the work of Guillaume de Machaut. Even as old English music goes, the 13th century gets more of the limelight, led by the famous Sumer Is Icumen in and twinsongs like "Edi beo thu, hevene Quene" and "Foweles in the frith". And then there's the 15th century ushering in the first of the English "name" composers, Power and Dunstable, further pushing the 14th century into the background. Masters of the Rolls is a helpful remedy to this obscurity.

The Rolls in question are the rotoli (singular rotolus) from which literate musicians of that time read while performing. Very few of these delicate, often roughly-handled scroll manuscripts have survived. More plentiful nowadays are the bound manuscripts that served as display pieces or collector's items more than as practical musical texts. Indeed, few medieval English music manuscripts of ANY kind survived the Anglican reformation, and many that did spent hundreds of years as recycled scraps in bindings, frontispieces and what not before their rediscovery by modern scholars. A preponderance of this surviving music was sung in church/monastery settings, and used sacred texts in English or Latin. All of the texts heard here are in Latin, though some are political rather than sacred).

Surveying a few of the 22 tracks should give an idea of what's on tap here.
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