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GRAMOPHONE (10 /2013)
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Code-barres / Barcode: 5400439003354 (ID335)

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Appréciation d'ensemble / Overall evaluation : "...a veritable feast for the ears. "

Reviewer: David Vickers

Doulce Mémoire delve into a polyphonic anthology

The blind organist Antonio de Cabezón (c1510-1566) served at the Spanish court from 1526 and was one of the musicians who travelled to England for the marriage of Mary Tudor and Philip II (whom Cabezón taught). Although an esteemed pioneer of instrumental polyphonic composition, most of his surviving music was published posthumously under the supervision of his son Hernando in Obras de música para tecla, arpa y vihuela (Madrid, 1578). Printed in tablature, many of these didactic pieces based on familiar songs or motets were designed to instruct students in the art of diminution (ie skilful improvisation).


This selective anthology presents the sweetly natural soprano voice of Clara Coutouly (accompanied by harp, lute and spinet) singing chansons by Franco-Flemish masters including Verdelot, Crecquillon and Willaert in conjunction with Cabezón’s intricate polyphonic treatments of the same tunes, played exquisitely by the multi-instrumentalists of Doulce Mémoire; some five- and six-part pieces feature varying combinations of cornett, shawm and sackbut with Renaissance bassoons and recorders of various shapes and sizes. The Calvinist poet Guéroult’s ‘Susanne ung jour’ was probably set to music more often than any other chanson spirituelle during the 16th century, so it is enjoyable to hear Lassus’s famous setting prior to Cabezón’s version, played rapturously by shawm and bassoons. Denis Raisin Dadre supervises intelligently programmed and imaginative music-making that not only advocates Cabezón’s merits but also recreates the improvisatory spirit of his probable practices – and, most importantly, proffers a veritable feast for the ears.


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