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American Record Guide: (01/2018) 
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Reviewer: Charles Brewer

This is an eclectic anthology of renaissance choral music by the five members of the Vienna Vocal Consort to which a heavy dose of medieval spice is added by Guillaume de Machaut’s Nostre Dame Mass. The motets range from Dufay’s fauxbourdon hymn ‘Ave Maris Stella’ and Josquin’s famous ‘Ave Maria Virgo Serena’, through Palestrina’s ‘Ave Maria’ and Victoria’s ‘Salve Regina’, to a Czech 17th Century song by Adam Michna and a retrospective and simple setting of a single verse from the Stabat Mater by Juan Frances de Irebarren (1699-1767). The most extensive renaissance selection is Pierre de la Rue’s alternatim setting of the Magnificat sexti toni. La Rue’s increase from monophonic chant through three and fourvoice polyphony to a full five-voice texture for the concluding verses is very effective. The clarity, balance, and melodiousness of the polyphony which these five singers supply in their interpretations of the renaissance repertoire are also evident in the Machaut Mass. Perhaps the main other recording with this same kind of lyricism is by the Ensemble Gilles Binchois (N/D 1992 & S/O 2000), but even that earlier interpretation brings out more of the chromatic cross-relations and dissonance in Machaut’s writing. Other recordings have sought to emphasize how different Machaut is from later choral styles (extreme examples were by Ensemble Organum, M/J 1997, and Graindelavoix, S/O 2016). The Vienna Vocal Consort sounds as if they are adapting Machaut to their style of interpreting renaissance music. It sounds less distant from the other selections.

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