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8 Reviews
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic performance, February 27, 2003
This review is from: Music of the Gothic Era (Audio CD)
This recording remains a classic, even if (as Daniel Leech-Wilkinson points out in his accompanying notes) some of Munrow's performance practices may be disputed today. This is, quite simply, a wonderful performance and a terrific sounding recording (even after nearly 30 years)--and a wonderful way to develop an ear for the music of the 13th and 14th centuries.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, But Showing Its Age, February 11, 2008
By 
Leslie Richford (Selsingen, Lower Saxony) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Music of the Gothic Era (Audio CD)
Music of the Gothic Era. Notre Dame Period (c. 1160 - 1250); Ars Antiqua (c. 1250 - 1320); Ars nova (c. 1320 - 1380). Performed by the Early Music Consort of London, directed by David Munrow. Recorded in the Chapel of Charter House, Godalming, Surrey (England) and in Conway Hall, London (England) in 1975. First published on LP in 1976. This selection published on CD in 1985 as Deutsche Grammophon Archiv 415 292-2. Total playing time: 60'31". (Since this time, DG have re-released the entire original recording on two CDs: see Music of the Gothic Era.

After more than 30 years, this pioneering medieval recording is showing its age. Today, it is not considered historically correct to use instruments the way David Munrow did (here there are bells, fiddles, lute, bandora, psaltery, harp, organ, percussion, cornetts, recorder and shawms - played incidentally by such outstanding musicians as Christopher Hogwood and others who later joined the Academy of Ancient Music). And many today would be unwilling to have the majority of sung texts performed by one or two countertenors - as much as I respect James Bowman and Charles Brett, what you get to hear on this disc can occasionally fall into the "crowing" category so popular in the early years of the early music revival. And, finally, the Deutsche Grammophon engineering, although excellent as usual, leaves the instrumental accompaniments very much in the background in comparison with the voices which are superbly captured.

Nevertheless, this is a fascinating piece of repertoire, one of the last recordings David Munrow made before his unfortunate suicide. The first twenty minutes or so are dedicated to organum by Leonin and Perotin ("the Great"), two of the first musicians at Paris's newly-built Notre Dame cathedral. Together with David Munrow's notes, these tracks offer unusually incisive insights into the development of medieval monophony and polyphony. There follow five anonymous motets from the Ars Antiqua period plus one by Petrus de Cruce and two by Adam de la Halle, both of whose music is, even today, very rarely heard. The Ars Nova section contains four anonymous motets plus two motets each by Philippe de Vitry (whose music has since been explored by Benjamin Bagby's Sequentia on Deutsche Harmonia Mundi) and Guillaume de Machau(l)t, whose musical production has been a mainstay of the early music movement. The CD closes with an instrumental version of a "hocket" by Machault played on cornetts and shawms. If you don't know what a "hocket" is, this will show you - the word means something like "hiccup" and indicates that the melody springs from one voice to another with short breaks (which, when sung, can indeed sound like hiccupping).
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great collection, March 15, 2012
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This review is from: Music of the Gothic Era (Audio CD)
This is a wonderful collection of early music. He over uses the bells on the Leonin, and I suppose some scholars would object to some of the performance practices, but generally, he makes a very good case for this wonderful music. Much of it sounds amazingly contemporary, especially the Perotin. The Machaut works are especially interesting.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique, February 6, 2006
By 
Xyp (Cincinnati, OH) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Music of the Gothic Era (Audio CD)
This is early vocal music very much in the style currently heard in groups like the Hilliard Ensemble and Tallis Scholars. It is very spacious-sounding and solemn, which makes sense- most of the music that we have preserved from hundreds of years ago was written for use in the church. Fortunately, the gravity of the works never stops this set from being thoroughly enjoyable, too. Archiv's sound is, as always, very good.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An early music Classic, January 28, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Music of the Gothic Era (Audio CD)
I've heard several of these pieces by others performers, and I can say that the performances here are the best. This CD begins with the great Leonin and Perotin, then goes on to shorter works, mostly vocal, all delightful and well-done. This is definitely a classic CD. It has yet to be improved upon. Munrow was a genius.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You will never regret buying this recording, April 1, 2004
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This review is from: Music of the Gothic Era (Audio CD)
For the last year and a half, I have been checking out a lot of Medieval and Renaissance polyphony, and this has turned out to be one of the recordings that I play constantly. The London Early Music Consort performs these pieces with great depth and a wide range of expression and drama.
I sometimes wonder if the groups that originally performed these pieces some 800 years ago were as good as the London Early Music Consort. We will never know, but we are fortunate to have recordings of this group. The liner notes are interesting too; you get a perspective of some of the contentious social issues of the day.
To those listeners who never heard much polyphony and yet have over-listened to all the other genres and need something different to expand your horizon, give this a look. It is among the best of its genre, and if you can get caught in it, you will be blown away.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting and ethereal, May 10, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Music of the Gothic Era (Audio CD)
Once again David Munrow brings us a glimpse of an earlier time. This rendition transports the listener to the lofty arches of Winchester or Notre Dame with its rich and enduring vocals. For those seeking to round-out their "medieval" collection, this album is a must-have!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice music of the past, May 2, 2013
By 
Jerry G "Catmaze" (Johnstown ,CO, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Music of the Gothic Era (Audio CD)
This is a very nice and enjoyable c.d set of music of the Medieval era with many samples that take you back in time very well done .Nice to listen to when relaxing or working .
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Music of the Gothic Era
Music of the Gothic Era by Leonin (Audio CD - 2002)
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