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Music Of The Gothic Era (2 CD) Box set

4.9 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, October 8, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

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Genre: Classical Music
Media Format: Compact Disk
Rating:
Release Date: 8-OCT-2002
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Product Details

  • Performer: Henri Gilles de Pusieux, Guillaume de Machaut, Anonymous Codex Chantilly, Philipee Royllart, James Bowman, et al.
  • Composer: Leonin, Perotin, Anonymous, French Anonymous, Petrus de Cruce, et al.
  • Audio CD (October 8, 2002)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Archiv
  • ASIN: B00006L3IE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #151,508 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Leslie Richford on February 11, 2008
Format: 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.
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2 Comments 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: 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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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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By Xyp on February 6, 2006
Format: 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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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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