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Renaissance Winds

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 20, 1999
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Ensemble Doulce Mémoire
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 20, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sono Luminus
  • ASIN: B00000INWB
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #324,965 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
On the face of it this disc looks like a decent collection of renaissance instrumental music. But I found it dull in many places - the playing subdued, careful and precise but without the verve and spirit which other ensembles have often brought to this repertoire. The works chosen are a bit of a mixed bag, ranging from dances by the likes of Gervaise and Phalèse, through instrumental versions of songs, to ceremonial pieces; that would be OK but, as I've indicated, the performances are mixed as well. A consort of recorders play some of the pieces, and in these cases their thin sound would have struggled to gain any attention in the ceremonial and processional situations so vividly described in the booklet. Elsewhere, there's over-use of an insistent bass drum which becomes a bit of a bore in places, and there are an awful lot of passages played by solo percussion, evidently intended to show off the skills of the player but which I found both anachronistic and tedious.

Even the alta capella playing - cornetto, shawms, dulcian - is fairly dull, although they do improve quite a bit in the three `battle' pieces at the end, especially in their much more lively rendition of Heinrich Isaac's `A la Bataglia' (track 22), one of my own favourites. And what an opportunity is missed when it comes to the great renaissance hit song `Fortuna desperata' - with this haunting, doom-laden piece played here innocuously by a recorder consort alone and entirely failing to express the unjust, destructive power of fortune that the anonymous poet and songwriter intended. If you want to hear an instrumental version worthy of the qualities of this extraordinary piece, try
...Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
If there's anyone interested in secular Renaissance works, this is the first disc I recommend.
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