Organum, Marcel Peres - Ecole de Notre-Dame: Mass For The Nativity Of The Virgin (CA 1200)

Published Friday 7th December 2018
Organum, Marcel Peres - Ecole de Notre-Dame: Mass For The Nativity Of The Virgin (CA 1200)
Organum, Marcel Peres  - Ecole de Notre-Dame: Mass For The Nativity Of The Virgin (CA 1200)

STYLE: Choral
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 174217-28185
LABEL: Harmonia Mundi HMO8901538

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

This album is a repackaged re-issue of a recording made in 1995. Its main title, 'Ecole de Notre-Dame' gives us a location and the subtitles tell us what to expect: 'Mass For The Nativity Of The Virgin' with an approximate date of 1200 and, just to make it clear, 'Gothic Era'. We do indeed get what is promised on the cover with the added guarantee that with Marcel Pérès at the helm and his trusty Ensemble Organum at the ready we will get some quality singing. Whether what we hear is to your liking is a matter of personal taste but I believe that, like it or not, all would have to agree that it is well done. The reverse of the cover describes this as "musical archaeology" which is not wrong and tells musicians with a taste for history or indeed historians with a taste for music, that they might enjoy this. We are at a point in time where chant was becoming yesterday's music to be replaced with polyphony and under the patronage of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris the music of the Western Church was to head off into a new direction. What we hear remains liturgical: music composed to be used in worship and the example chosen presents the Mass for 8th September, the day on the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary which, in a cathedral named for "Our Lady", is the most solemn of all feast days. While this reviewer is not comfortable with the underlying theology behind this music he nevertheless enjoyed hearing it. Certainly it is specialised but it is sufficiently tuneful to be enjoyed as music whatever your views on the veneration of Mary the Mother of Jesus and for any with an interest in the development of European music, whether sacred or secular, this was a noteworthy release in 1995 and remains significant today.

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