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13 January, 2012
Perotinus Magister (Pérotin)
|Music of the Middle Ages Vol 2 - Notre Dame Organa|
(Charles Bressler, Russell Oberlin, et al.
(Rogers Covey-Crump, Charles Daniels, et al; Hilliard Ensemble; Paul Hillier, conductor)
It would be impossible to adequately describe the inherent haunting beauty of Perotin's music, or to fully detail its far-reaching influence in latter-12th-century France. The opening "Viderunt omnes" is a perfect illustration of the surprising vitality and highly charged sense of forward motion that can be obtained with relatively simple rhythmic impulses and harmonic devices. The male voices of the Hilliard Ensemble generate an electrifying resonance that vibrates everything in the room that's not solid or nailed down. You can literally feel this music, ringing with natural harmonics and set to body-moving rhythms. Yes, it's religious music, intended for lofty cathedral spaces; but it moves, and it's moving, and this recording gives it to you full blast. (review by David Vernier)
|The Age of Cathedrals|
(Alan Bennett, Paul Elliott, et al;
Theatre of Voices; Paul Hillier, conductor)
In the late 12th century, the city of Paris, with its university and cathedral, was unequaled as a center of music and learning. The musical innovations achieved at Notre Dame and the abbey of St. Martial laid the groundwork for many important developments in music, including polyphony, rhythmic notation, and metrical organization of melody. This recording features 16 works from this period, by both known composers at Notre Dame--Leonin and Perotin--and unknown ones working in monastic anonymity at St. Martial. Although relatively austere and harmonically limited, these revolutionary pieces-- inspired in part by the majesty of the new cathedral buildings built during the 12th century--have an incredible range of emotion, from passionate declamations to intensely moving florid lines. The performances by Paul Hillier and his superb singers are resonant, warm, dynamic, and rhythmically exciting, recorded with spacious sound that preserves the detail of the vocal parts. (review by David Vernier)