Author Topic: Guillaume Dufay  (Read 22464 times)

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Offline Vinbrulé

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Re: Guillaume Dufay
« Reply #160 on: March 10, 2019, 09:12:44 AM »
Two CD set from David Munrow, the first disc being devoted mainly to Machaut, the second to Dufay and Binchois. 
I find "Vergine bella" of  Dufay performed by a countertenor (perhaps James Bowman) absolutely enchanting. But it is the tenor voice that puzzled me initially , it reminded me of Anton Dermota ( Dalla sua pace/la mia dipende :) ) with at times an exaggerated vibrato. A second listening had me put aside reserves and resentments .  Beautiful box.

Online Mandryka

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Re: Guillaume Dufay
« Reply #161 on: April 17, 2019, 02:05:20 AM »


Does anyone know who wrote the propers on this mass recording? I’d also be interested to know the singers in the line up, I think they sound very good here, their distinctive low bass is kept in a leash, or the engineers have processed the sound. They also sing rather expressively.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2019, 02:10:10 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline San Antone

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Re: Guillaume Dufay
« Reply #162 on: April 17, 2019, 02:38:30 AM »


Does anyone know who wrote the propers on this mass recording?

The propers of any sung Mass are certain Scriptural texts, besides the readings, that are prescribed in the Church’s official song book, the Graduale Romanum - i.e., anonymous chant.

Online Mandryka

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Re: Guillaume Dufay
« Reply #163 on: April 17, 2019, 02:51:50 AM »
The propers of any sung Mass are certain Scriptural texts, besides the readings, that are prescribed in the Church’s official song book, the Graduale Romanum - i.e., anonymous chant.

Did Dufay write any plainsong?

Answer, yes, there's some here



But you're saying not the examples in the ordinarium of that recording.

(By the way it looks like Schola Hungarica have recorded a lot of Dufay's chant, I have hardly heard any of it. )
« Last Edit: April 17, 2019, 02:57:50 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline San Antone

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Re: Guillaume Dufay
« Reply #164 on: April 17, 2019, 03:13:04 AM »
Did Dufay write any plainsong?

Answer, yes, there's some here



But you're saying not the examples in the ordinarium of that recording.

(By the way it looks like Schola Hungarica have recorded a lot of Dufay's chant, I have hardly heard any of it. )

I am confused.  You post a CD of Dufay motets and assume he wrote the plainchant?  The chant used in sacred music of his period was anonymous collected from a tradition dating back several hundred years.  Composers had no reason to write new chant, and further, it would have been rejected in any event since the cathedral used untrained singers (who were not good enough to sing the newly composed polyphony but) who had mastered the chant sections which were a closed system of melodies.

What Dufay did write were additional melodies, two parts usually, added to a chant melody which has been called fauxbourdon.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2019, 03:19:48 AM by San Antone »

Online Mandryka

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Re: Guillaume Dufay
« Reply #165 on: April 17, 2019, 04:21:31 AM »
I am confused.  You post a CD of Dufay motets and assume he wrote the plainchant?  The chant used in sacred music of his period was anonymous collected from a tradition dating back several hundred years.  Composers had no reason to write new chant, and further, it would have been rejected in any event since the cathedral used untrained singers (who were not good enough to sing the newly composed polyphony but) who had mastered the chant sections which were a closed system of melodies.

What Dufay did write were additional melodies, two parts usually, added to a chant melody which has been called fauxbourdon.

Ah he added his own fauxbourdons. And on that Guerber CD with the mass, do the ordinaries have fauxbourdons or other augmentations of older plainsong written by Du Fay? If someone’s got the booklet it’ll probably say.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2019, 04:30:44 AM by Mandryka »
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Online Mandryka

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Re: Guillaume Dufay
« Reply #166 on: April 17, 2019, 07:47:13 AM »
  The chant used in sacred music of his period was anonymous collected from a tradition dating back several hundred years.  Composers had no reason to write new chant, and further, it would have been rejected in any event since the cathedral used untrained singers (who were not good enough to sing the newly composed polyphony but) who had mastered the chant sections which were a closed system of melodies.



You may be interested in Alexander Blanchy's notes here

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With rare exceptions the music of plainchant comes down through the ages anonymously. It was all the more astonishing, therefore, when Barbara Haggh first announced in 1985 that she had identified numerous items of plainchant not only written by a known composer but by Guillaume Du Fay, the leading polyphonist of the 15th century. Du Fay's authorship of the chant had gone unrecognized until then because the Recollectio music appears in chant books, along with the other liturgical chant for the Church year, without composer attribution. The documents Haggh has brought to light, however, leave no doubt that the music for the Recollectio is by the composer of Nuper rosarum fibres and Ecclesie militantis.

The pertinent facts are these: In 1457 Michael de Beringhen, a canon of Cambrai Cathedral, asked Gilles Carlier, dean of the Cathedral, to provide texts for a new feast for which he would bequeath the endowment (the money necessary to pay for its composition and performance). Memorializing the six Marian feasts already celebrated at Cam-brai (Mary's Conception, Nativity, Annunciation, Visitation, Purification and Assumption), the Recollectio would raise the number to seven, a traditional Marian number. De Beringhen chose Du Fay to compose the music. Fifty days after he first brought the texts to Du Fay, then in Savoy, a mes-senger named Guillaume Pannet returned to Cam-brai with Du Fay's newly composed plainchant for Vespers I, Matins, Lauds, Vespers II and probably the Mass. As Haggh has written: "The Recollectio was then copied into the liturgical books of the Cathedral by several scribes, including Simon Mellet, who added the feast to 27 books. On the fourth Sunday in August of 1458, the year following De Beringhen's decease, the new chant by Du Fay was heard for the first time in the Cathedral, sung by the canons, grandes vicaires, chaplains, and at least eight petits vicaires grouped into left and right choirs, and by the altarboys with their maitre de chant. These events were recorded in the accounts made by De Beringhen's executors."


Alexander Blachly


I want to recommend this CD very enthusiastically, at least my impression is that it is well worth exploring.



I am confused.  You post a CD of Dufay motets and assume he wrote the plainchant? 

The Recollectio recording contains a monophonic graduel and an Alleluia, mass settings, which the mass which Barbara Haggh attributes to Dufay. I haven't yet checked whether these are used on Antoine Guerber's Dufay mass recording, or in the concert I saw on Monday.


What Dufay did write were additional melodies, two parts usually, added to a chant melody which has been called fauxbourdon.


He did write fauxbourdons. I think the Recollectio contains much music by him which is not polyphonic. But this is an new area for me and I may be wrong to think that he left a good deal of chant which is mono- or hetero- phonic.

[n]ew chant, . . .  would have been rejected in any event since the cathedral used untrained singers . . .  who had mastered the chant sections which were a closed system of melodies.


And by implication weren't up to new ones. Do you have evidence for that, or was it speculation?
« Last Edit: April 17, 2019, 08:04:08 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline San Antone

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Re: Guillaume Dufay
« Reply #167 on: April 17, 2019, 08:02:04 AM »
You may be interested in Alexander Blanchy's notes here

He did write fauxbourdons. I think the Recollectio contains much music by him which is not polyphonic. But this is an new area for me and I may be wrong to think that he left a good deal of chant which is mono- or hetero- phonic.

Interesting note about Haggh's discovery.  Something I had not heard of before. 

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And by implication weren't up to new ones. Do you have evidence for that, or was it speculation?

Speculation based on all of my reading about how Medieval/Renaissance vocal ensembles were constructed: a few professionals to sing the polyphony and the rest amateurs to sing the monophonic chant and other simpler music.

Online Mandryka

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Re: Guillaume Dufay
« Reply #168 on: April 17, 2019, 10:32:54 PM »



Very good things by Dufay here, sung by Schola Hungarica: a Sanctus/Ave Verum Corpus, a Pange Lingue and a real surprise for me, a long sequence. All polyphonic!

Only the Ave Verum Corpus was familir to me: there is a sweet, sensual, seductive performance on record from Blue Heron, and a lovely one from Cantica Symphonia here


« Last Edit: April 17, 2019, 10:44:31 PM by Mandryka »
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Online Mandryka

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Re: Guillaume Dufay
« Reply #169 on: April 17, 2019, 10:48:25 PM »


Speculation based on all of my reading about how Medieval/Renaissance vocal ensembles were constructed: a few professionals to sing the polyphony and the rest amateurs to sing the monophonic chant and other simpler music.

Oh yes sure, but it was the idea that they would have rejected new chant which caught my attention . . . I wondered if you had any examples to support that.
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Offline San Antone

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Re: Guillaume Dufay
« Reply #170 on: April 17, 2019, 11:12:25 PM »
Oh yes sure, but it was the idea that they would have rejected new chant which caught my attention . . . I wondered if you had any examples to support that.

I don't; since I was not aware of any evidence that Dufay or any Medieval/Renaissance composer had supplied newly composed chant, I did not look for any evidence.  However, the church and all its institutions, i.e. cathedral singing schools, were so conservative and slow to accept change, I simply extrapolated to the idea that a composer bringing new plainchant would have a hard time getting the non-professional singers to learn new melodies for texts for which they already knew dozens of traditional melodies.  It would have begged the question, "why?"

If I can find J.F. Weber's email I will ask him.  He is the foremost authority on chant I know, and has been open to answering my questions in the past.

Online Mandryka

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Re: Guillaume Dufay
« Reply #171 on: April 18, 2019, 12:13:07 PM »


They’ve found a really distinctive way of presenting Dufay I’d say, a singing style which to me to straddle gothic and renaissance - some of the angularity and complexity in the voicing that you might expect with Ciconia, but more emphasis on refinement and beauty of sound.  I also listened to some of Blue Heron’s recording, and the tracks I heard seemed to me to locate Dufay’s music firmly in the renaissance - lyrical and smooth, well balanced.

I’ve not had a chance to look at what we know about the skills and training of chant choirs in Dufay’s time, what sort of training they got etc. I’ll try to make time soon.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2019, 12:16:58 PM by Mandryka »
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Online Mandryka

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Re: Guillaume Dufay
« Reply #172 on: April 19, 2019, 01:16:42 AM »
I don't; since I was not aware of any evidence that Dufay or any Medieval/Renaissance composer had supplied newly composed chant, I did not look for any evidence.  However, the church and all its institutions, i.e. cathedral singing schools, were so conservative and slow to accept change, I simply extrapolated to the idea that a composer bringing new plainchant would have a hard time getting the non-professional singers to learn new melodies for texts for which they already knew dozens of traditional melodies.  It would have begged the question, "why?"

If I can find J.F. Weber's email I will ask him.  He is the foremost authority on chant I know, and has been open to answering my questions in the past.

I just note briefly something I forgot yesterday.

Everyone knows that Dufay asked that his own antiphon Ave Regina Celorum be sung on his deathbead, and he was specific about who should sing it -- he specified "the alter boys with their master and two other men. " I guess a few kids sang the discantus and the adults sang the lower voices OVPP.

Anyway we can conclude that in Cambrai at least there were choir boys skilled enough to sing polyphonic music.
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Offline San Antone

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Re: Guillaume Dufay
« Reply #173 on: April 19, 2019, 02:55:57 AM »
I just note briefly something I forgot yesterday.

Everyone knows that Dufay asked that his own antiphon Ave Regina Celorum be sung on his deathbead, and he was specific about who should sing it -- he specified "the alter boys with their master and two other men. " I guess a few kids sang the discantus and the adults sang the lower voices OVPP.

Anyway we can conclude that in Cambrai at least there were choir boys skilled enough to sing polyphonic music.

However, it was a request that was unable to be fulfilled in time.

Online Mandryka

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Re: Guillaume Dufay
« Reply #174 on: May 10, 2019, 01:08:37 PM »


Apart from this Dufay only CD, I recall only three secular songs on record from The Orlando Consort, viz

An "Ave regina" on the CD Scattered Rhymes
"Ce jour de l'an" on the CD A Medieval Christmas
"Adieux ces bons vins de Lanoy" on the CD Food, Wine and Song.

The new CD, subtitled Lament for Constantinople and other songs, contains  I think the only examples of Dufay with their current lineup, i.e. with Matthew Venner (alto) and Mark Dobell (tenor)

Orlando Consort have decided to sing the songs without any instruments, frequently using long melismas on vowels and possibly other types of vocalise for untexted music. The result sounds rich and complex, and I would say more strange and exotic than older treatments like The Medieval Ensemble of London. who sound almost naively folkloric in comparison sometimes (eg in "Ma belle damme je vous pri", which Orlando make sound close to ars subtilior). Orlando often sing in a slow sensual way, maybe the tempos are the result of their experiments with a cappella performance.

The tenor and alto are often quite dominant in the blend of the ensemble, especially the alto. But they are well recorded and it's pleasant to hear them, especially Mark Dobell.

Very few other ensembles have treated this secular music a cappella on record: Hilliard certainly, and some things from Gothic Voices including their Dufay Spectacle CD, Graindelavoix in concert but so far not on a commercial release, there may be others which I'm forgetting. I suppose we can say that it's becoming clearer that the results are interesting.

By the way, let me recommend enthusiastically their "Adieux ces bons vins de Lanoy" on Food, Wine and Song.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2019, 01:17:40 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline San Antone

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Re: Guillaume Dufay
« Reply #175 on: May 10, 2019, 01:23:39 PM »
Is that the new release on Hyperion?  (I, for one, would prefer if you posted the front covers so it would be easier to identify the recording).  If so, I am planning on getting it.  I consider the Orlando Consort one of the more historically informed groups. For many years they worked closely with a musicologist, especially on their earlier recordings - all of which made for idiomatic performances.

Online Mandryka

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Re: Guillaume Dufay
« Reply #176 on: May 10, 2019, 08:08:04 PM »
This one has booklet notes by David Fallows though I’m not sure if his collaboration went beyond that. I know they want to give an interpretation which is at least consistent with what little we know about how Dufay would have expected his songs to have been performed. I don’t know why they decided to sing the music a Cappella, or how they hit on their way of singing melismatic vocalise for music without texts, or how their ideas about attack and volume and speed and harmonies in cross relations etc.  were obtained, and maybe most importantly, whether they really think that Dufay would in their opinion have been comfortable with the top lines of these songs being sung by a man with an alto voice, they don’t reveal that sort of thing unfortunately.

« Last Edit: May 10, 2019, 10:18:53 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Vinbrulé

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Re: Guillaume Dufay
« Reply #177 on: May 10, 2019, 11:03:37 PM »
This one .   I agree about the song 'Adieu ces bons vins de Lannoys'  on CD Food,wine & song :)
« Last Edit: May 10, 2019, 11:14:03 PM by Vinbrulé »

Online Mandryka

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Re: Guillaume Dufay
« Reply #178 on: May 31, 2019, 11:32:05 PM »
Listening again to the Orlando Consort Dufay CD, inspired by a comment made by a friend about their tuning, and indeed it does sometimes sound rather “meantone” when you look out for it - interesting to listen to the cadences in Je vous prie, by them and Gothic Voices (on The Dufay Spectacle) to bring this out, I think. See what you think. It’s such a shame that they don’t discuss these interpretative decisions in the booklet.

Apart from that I feel very much as I did when I commented here before three weeks ago. This time round I’m more impressed (and pleased) by Orlando’s sensuality. And maybe more annoyed by one aspect of the sound recording, which is the way it brings forward the countertenor at the expense of some starry singing by Mark Dobell, sometimes it’s like he’s trying to break through the Venner sound to be heard. The other two are mostly secondary in the structures that Orlando build, I’d say.


But I think that in terms of imaging if not in terms of balance  the sound engineering is outstanding, and there’s a huge amount that I find rewarding in the recording, so I'd say it's worth a listen,  if you have a decent hifi.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2019, 12:08:18 AM by Mandryka »
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