Texte paru dans: / Appeared in:
Fanfare Magazine: 43:1 (09-10/2019) 
Pour s'abonner / Subscription information
Les abonnés à Fanfare Magazine ont accès aux archives du magazine sur internet.
Subscribers to Fanfare Magazine have access to the archives of the magazine on the net.


Code-barres / Barcode : 034571282749

Reviewer: J. F. Weber

This collection of 15th-century English music demonstrates the widespread devotion to the early Christian martyr St. Catherine of Alexandria, after whose manner of torture the Catherine wheel is named. (According to legend, the wheel was destroyed and she was then beheaded.) The notes recount extensively the development of her cult as it moved from the East to the West in the Middle Ages. It is no longer observed liturgically, like other popular but legendary saints such as St. Christopher, St. George, and St. Philomena. The marriage of Henry V to the Valois princess Kate increased her popularity greatly. (Shades of the present day, though the saint is no longer remembered in the same way.) Apart from the Blessed Virgin, no other saint has been honored with enough 15th-century music to fill a CD, as the notes aptly point out. Featured is Walter Frye’s Mass, using a cantus firmus taken from Nobilis et pulchra, the first matins responsory for the saint. The cantus firmus itself is also sung enhanced with faburden. Dunstaple’s Salve scema sanctitatis is based on Virgo flagellatur, the sixth Matins responsory; that cantus firmus also underlies an anonymous Gloria, and the cantus firmus is also sung enhanced with faburden. Byttering’s En Katerine solennia is based on the verse of the same responsory. Gaude virgo Katherina is a sequence that seems to be a first recording.

The Frye Mass was directed by Alejandro Planchart on the first full LP devoted to the composer, Lyrichord LLST 7246. This is only its second recording. Salve scema sanctitatis has been recorded by Bruno Turner (later on CD) and the Hilliard Ensemble (Fanfare 7:6; later on CD). Byttering’s motet was recorded by the Hilliard Ensemble (15:3), Christopher Page (19:4, 33:3), Alexander Blachly (22:1), and the Orlando Consort (40:5). Robert Driffelde is a new name for the Fanfare Archive, with two record premieres. Only his surname appears on the music, but he can be identified with Robert Dryffelde, a vicar at Salisbury Cathedral from 1424 to 1468. These two Mass movements are based on chants for the feast of a virgin, not specifically St. Catherine. Kirkman’s group gives superb interpretations of the music, upholding the high level of all their Hyperion recordings.

This is Kirkman’s third program to feature alabaster carvings contemporary with the music of the 15th century that he recorded (Fanfare 41:1, 42:2). (The issue before those two similarly focused on another work of art, the illuminated Wollaton Antiphonal, 41:1.) The carvings, reproduced in color in the booklets, are found in museums and churches from Chicago to Paris and all over England. In this installment of the series, a contemporary sculptor, Sarah Danays, has duplicated an alabaster carving of St. Catherine damaged by the loss of an arm; Danays’s mirror-image copy restores the arm. All four booklets are unusually beautiful, apart from being instructive on the relation between 15th-century music and art. The four discs make an exceptional survey of the English 15th century.

Fermer la fenêtre/Close window

Sélectionnez votre pays et votre devise en accédant au site de
Presto Classical
(Bouton en haut à droite)

Pour acheter l'album
ou le télécharger

To purchase the CD
or to download it

Choose your country and curency
when reaching
Presto Classical
(Upper right corner of the page)


Cliquez l'un ou l'autre bouton pour découvrir bien d'autres critiques de CD
 Click either button for many other reviews