Author Topic: Guillaume Dufay  (Read 23330 times)

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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Guillaume Dufay
« Reply #200 on: October 05, 2019, 03:53:57 AM »
Frankly, I'm not interested in the scholarship. If Munrow's recording is crude, then so am I.  :D

@Mandryka, between the two I much preferred the Russel Oberlin, I may be starting to see what you mean by introvert/extrovert. I wonder if the context of the performance has to do with this distinction. I imagine it's much harder to deliver an "introverted" performance in a live setting.

Yes, I bet even the singers of the second one prefer Oberlin!
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Offline (: premont :)

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Re: Guillaume Dufay
« Reply #201 on: October 05, 2019, 04:03:32 AM »
Virgin Mary I think, he’s not trying to get her to sleep with him, he’s engaged in intimate prayer.

Yes of course, but it is still addressed directly to her.

Vergin bella, che di sol vestita,
coronata di stelle, al sommo Sole
piacesti sí, che 'n te Sua luce ascose,
amor mi spinge a dir di te parole:
ma non so 'ncominciar senza tu' aita,
et di Colui ch'amando in te si pose.
Invoco lei che ben sempre rispose,
chi la chiamò con fede:
Vergine, s'a mercede
miseria extrema de l'humane cose
già mai ti volse, al mio prego t'inchina,
soccorri a la mia guerra,
bench'i' sia terra, et tu del ciel regina.


Lovely Virgin, who, clothed in glory,
crowned with stars, so pleased
the high Sun, that he hid his light in you,
love urges me to speak of you:
but I cannot begin without your help,
and His, who lovingly was set in you.
I call on her who always replies truly
to those who call to her with faith:
Virgin, if the final
misery of human life can forever
turn to you for mercy, bow down to hear my prayer,
and help me in this, my war,
though I am earth, and you the queen of heaven.
Tiden læger alle sår,
heldigt nok at tiden går.

Offline San Antone

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Re: Guillaume Dufay
« Reply #202 on: October 05, 2019, 04:16:30 AM »
I don’t know as much about scholarship as you, and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn my taste is on the crude side compared with yours, but there are many Dufay recordings which I really love which I think predate that, I may have got the dates wrong though.

The Davies Brothers songs
Pomerium Missa Ecce Ancilla Domini
Syntagma Musicum
Studio Der Fruhen Musick
Pro Cantione Antiqua.

I can not claim any scholarship, what knowledge I have has been gathered informally through reading a shelf of books, and some little correspondence with a handful of true scholars.  But I have not heard any of those recordings.  So I cannot confirm or deny their positive qualities, but can make some general comments.

From your list, I could venture to say that I would enjoy the Pro Cantione Antiqua recording since I have liked everything by them I've heard, mainly Palestrina.  All I can find on the Syntagma Musicum is a CD from 1998.  Was it issued as a LP earlier?  I've not been a fan of the Davies brothers, so would probably consider them an example of the kind of recording I would not enjoy.  Of the last two, Pomerium I have heard but do not have any memory, positive or negative, and I have not heard of or any recordings by Studio Der Fruhen Musick.

I first had written 1978, and then changed it to the  date of Parrott's recording of the Machaut Messe.  I probably have heard recordings from the mid to late '70s which were done tastefully and which I liked. I probably painted with too broad a brush.

 8)

Offline San Antone

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Re: Guillaume Dufay
« Reply #203 on: October 05, 2019, 04:19:18 AM »
Frankly, I'm not interested in the scholarship. If Munrow's recording is crude, then so am I.  :D

I rely on my ears when considering a recording, not scholarship.  If you enjoy Munrow, then I would be loath to begrudge you any enjoyment.  For myself, there are many other recordings, mostly from the last 30 years, which I enjoy much more. 

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Guillaume Dufay
« Reply #204 on: October 05, 2019, 05:46:59 AM »
I probably have heard recordings from the mid to late '70s which were done tastefully and which I liked. I probably painted with too broad a brush.

 8)

Sure, that's clear. For me the interesting question is whether there's anything very early which is done with such grace that it's impossible for someone who loves life not to like it. Stafford Cape  , , ,


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« Last Edit: October 05, 2019, 05:50:24 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline San Antone

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Re: Guillaume Dufay
« Reply #205 on: October 05, 2019, 06:05:45 AM »
Sure, that's clear. For me the interesting question is whether there's anything very early which is done with such grace that it's impossible for someone who loves life not to like it. Stafford Cape  , , ,

His Messe was the first to exhibit a few of the traits which were to become standard in the '80s and beyond, but there is still much I dislike, his use of instruments, e.g.. As far as I know his was the first to acknowledge the incorrect notion that the mass was written for the coronation of Charles V, and his interpretation reflected this knowledge.  Others who continued to suffer under that delusion are worse by the use of a choir, instead of a smaller vocal ensemble, and more robust use of instruments, brass especially. For me it is a combination of all those factors plus the audio quality of the earlier recordings from '50s which render them un-listenable to me.

This is not to say others might find beauty where I do not. 

I wrote this before I saw your video clip.  I listened to some of it, but could not enjoy it because of the female lead voice, too much vibrato, and the instruments on top of the vocal lines.  But it is OVPP, or at least sound like it, which is something.  There is also a harshness to the audio, maybe because it is a transfer from a LP.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2019, 06:08:34 AM by San Antone »

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Guillaume Dufay
« Reply #206 on: October 05, 2019, 06:22:13 AM »
This is an early Dufay one which I like very much -- if anyone has a transfer please let me have it, I'm not sure of the date.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/ZH9kSScl8vU" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/ZH9kSScl8vU</a>
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Guillaume Dufay
« Reply #207 on: October 06, 2019, 03:13:13 AM »



I’ve never explored Ensemble Unicorn’s recordings before as far as I recall. There are some really nice performances of secular Du Fay here, the instrument fantasy on  Quel Fronte signorille  is bold and imaginative, Bernhard Landauer has a voice I can live with happily, and the way Ensemble Unicorn support his singing is never routine or boring.

Oh, there’s an introspective and prayerful performance of Vergine Bella à la Oberlin, I bet he’s an inspiration for it!
« Last Edit: October 06, 2019, 03:43:34 AM by Mandryka »
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Online vers la flamme

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Re: Guillaume Dufay
« Reply #208 on: October 06, 2019, 04:34:02 AM »



I’ve never explored Ensemble Unicorn’s recordings before as far as I recall. There are some really nice performances of secular Du Fay here, the instrument fantasy on  Quel Fronte signorille  is bold and imaginative, Bernhard Landauer has a voice I can live with happily, and the way Ensemble Unicorn support his singing is never routine or boring.

Oh, there’s an introspective and prayerful performance of Vergine Bella à la Oberlin, I bet he’s an inspiration for it!

Noted. That does look like a solid disc.

My admiration for Dufay grows, I think he is one of the most accessible composers of the early renaissance.

To veer off tangentially for a moment, why do so many people hate countertenors? I wonder if it has something to do with cultural ideas of masculinity.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Guillaume Dufay
« Reply #209 on: October 06, 2019, 06:11:31 AM »
Noted. That does look like a solid disc.

My admiration for Dufay grows, I think he is one of the most accessible composers of the early renaissance.

To veer off tangentially for a moment, why do so many people hate countertenors? I wonder if it has something to do with cultural ideas of masculinity.

In Andrew Parrott's book Composers' Intentions there's an appendix devoted to the perception of the falsetto as effeminate. This perception goes back to St Ambrose (c4), and continues through Boethius (c6), Alfred of Rielvaux (c12), Bernard of Clairvaux (c12) and on and on through to Jacques de Liege (c14)

It's not at all obvious that the falsetto voice was cultivated in medieval times. This is a big area of research and touches on lots of difficult questions: the pitch of the descant, the use of pre pubescent boys.

In ensemble singing I think countertenors can be hard to manage -- they can easily attract the ear at the expense of the other singers. This can be controlled I think, but even the most scrupulous ensembles have difficulty with it. I think it has been a problem with Matthew Vener in The Orlando Consort, though I sense from their most recent recordings (including the Dufay one)  that things are improving there. When I saw them in concert it became clear to me that the problem has as much to do with the (under)forcefulness of the lower voices as the (over)forcefulness of the uppers.

With voices, I've learned that people like what they like, there's often no rhyme or reason. Yes, there are some people who don't like countertenors, but there are some people who don't like sopranos and some who don't like bass singers! De gustibus non est disputandum.

There's a story about Alfed Deller. He was a hit in the USA and found himself at a high society party after a concert. A lady came up to him and said "Mr Deller, your voice is very high. Are you a eunuch?" To which he replied "Madame, I am not a eunuch but I am unique!"


My admiration for Dufay grows, I think he is one of the most accessible composers of the early renaissance.


You may like also Binchois, who was a friend of Dufay, and who wrote some good songs. If you can get access to this one it may be something you'll like

« Last Edit: October 06, 2019, 06:22:58 AM by Mandryka »
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Online vers la flamme

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Re: Guillaume Dufay
« Reply #210 on: October 07, 2019, 02:59:25 AM »
I've never heard of Binchois, I'll look out for him.

Interesting thoughts on countertenors. I'll admit that my assumption regarding the hatred of countertenors was spawned by the radical feminist in me.  ;D I have yet to see a Renaissance polyphony ensemble in concert, but I can easily picture balance being a problem, countertenors or not.

I just picked up this disc yesterday:



So far, so good.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Guillaume Dufay
« Reply #211 on: October 07, 2019, 08:06:42 AM »
I've never heard of Binchois, I'll look out for him.

Interesting thoughts on countertenors. I'll admit that my assumption regarding the hatred of countertenors was spawned by the radical feminist in me.  ;D I have yet to see a Renaissance polyphony ensemble in concert, but I can easily picture balance being a problem, countertenors or not.

I just picked up this disc yesterday:



So far, so good.

There’s another recording of the mass on that Pomerium CD by The Binchois Consort, I just listened to both. You couldn’t get more different approaches, one rather sweet and silky smooth,  blended almost to the point of flatness, the other full of ups and downs and asperities, sparse and rather incisive. I’m tempted to say that Alexander Blachly sees it as Renaissance music and Andrew Kirkman sees it as medieval music. I preferred  Kirkman this afternoon I have to say, but this probably betrays my current interest in the gothic.

« Last Edit: October 07, 2019, 08:08:40 AM by Mandryka »
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Re: Guillaume Dufay
« Reply #212 on: October 07, 2019, 08:34:08 AM »
Ah, interesting thoughts. I’ve heard others say that they see little difference between some of Dufay’s music and that of his near contemporary Machaut, but from my limited listening experience I hear a big step forward from one to the other. And I love Machaut.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Guillaume Dufay
« Reply #213 on: October 07, 2019, 08:55:06 AM »
Ah, interesting thoughts. I’ve heard others say that they see little difference between some of Dufay’s music and that of his near contemporary Machaut, but from my limited listening experience I hear a big step forward from one to the other. And I love Machaut.

I don't think the move from Machaut to Dufay is a step forward, but it is a step. There's also a big step from Dufay to Josquin.

I think that a lot is in the performance. If you smooth things out in performance, blend the sounds, adjust things so as to minimise the dissonances at cadences and elsewhere, get the singers to sing with a rich, rounded full voice  . . . then it's bound to sound more modern. So these performance decisions betray the performers' ideology about how the c15 relates to modernity.

That made me think of Stafford Cape's Machaut -- they sing it like it's a Bruckner mass, very beautiful I think, if ideologically questionable.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/PghY-ZrrOe0&amp;t=925s" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/PghY-ZrrOe0&amp;t=925s</a>




« Last Edit: October 07, 2019, 08:58:27 AM by Mandryka »
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