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Fanfare Magazine: 43:2 (11-12/2019) 
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Guillaume de Machaut: The single rose Product Image

Code-barres / Barcode : 034571282770

Reviewer: J. F. Weber

Titled The Single Rose, this is the seventh entry in the projected complete works of Guillaume de Machaut sung from a new edition to be published by Medieval Institute Publications. There are six virelais, including four for one voice distributed among the four members of the Consort. Three ballades, three motets, and two rondeaux complete the program, including the first recording of the rondeau Merci vous pri. The other rondeau, Certes mon oueil, has been recorded only in the Orlando’s older Archiv disc (Fanfare 22:5). This is the first sung version of two virelais, Loyauté vueil, once recorded on an organetto, and Se d’amer, once recorded in an instrumental rendition. Another virelai, Se ma dame, has been recorded only twice, both times with instruments. These last three are all solo renditions here, unaccompanied as always, Loyauté vueil sung by Donald Greig, Se d’amer by Mark Dobell, and Se ma dame by Matthew Venner. So there are really four vocal premiere recordings.

The other nine works are represented on records, some better than others. The group includes De tout sui’s first recording in four decades (Lawrence Earp wrote, “No recording examined is usable”), and apparently the first complete performance. Only Sequentia’s version of Je suis aussi was even acceptable, and that was not commercially available. Quant je sui mis, sung here by tenor Angus Smith, matches a fine baritone solo version in a Gothic Voices disc (30:4). The most recent De triste cuer, Lucien Kandel’s (33:5), was accompanied. Se je souspir is hard to find unaccompanied with all three verses, as here. The ballade De toutes flours was also in Orlando’s Archiv disc. The motets are all in the Hilliard Ensemble disc (27:5), none of them as slow as that collection was. Hence most of the selections heard here are a real enhancement of the Machaut discography.

The singing matches the high level of previous entries. The three motets are especially rewarding. I count 11 works of Machaut (including three recorded only instrumentally) that are not available on record, and that ignores the poor quality of some of the older performances. The consort still has a long way to go. Grab this quickly if you want to see more of the series. Recommended without reserve.

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