Playing time: 77' 50"
- Oxford Camerata [Robin Blaze, Robert Rice, Richard Wyn Roberts, Matthew Brook] - Jeremy Summerly, dir.
- Oxford Camerata [Caroline Trevor, Robert Rice, Matthew Brook] - Jeremy Summerly, dir.
 Oxford Camerata [Caroline Trevor, Robert Rice] - Jeremy Summerly, dir.
 Oxford Camerata [Matthew Brook] - Jeremy Summerly, dir.
 Oxford Camerata [Robert Rice, Andrew Carwood, Matthew Brook] - Jeremy Summerly, dir.
 Oxford Camerata [Caroline Trevor, Robert Rice, Matthew Brook] - Jeremy Summerly, dir.
Recording site and date:
- Reims Cathedral, France [02/1996]
- Maida Vale Studio 1 [02/1996]
 Naxos 8.554103 [CD] Naxos: Ten Years of Success
 Naxos 8.556704 [CD] Sanctus
Gramophone (Vol./#-p.):74/885-88 (february 1997)
Fanfare (Vol./#-p.): 20/4-219 (march/april 1997)
Comments: Information from owned recordingPierre-F. Roberge
This makes a nice introduction to Machaut for the casual listener, including both the mass and some of his songs. A few remarks follow.
The Mass has been recorded at Reims Cathedral, where Machaut was canon, using some kind of "buzzword" electronic gadget to capture the acoustic. In terms of doing the latter, it does a decent job, but many recordings do as well without buzzwords. Anyway, my real amusement comes from the remarks in the liner notes that by doing this, they have created the "closest possible" version. Given the variables of phrasing, pronunciation, tuning, ornaments, dynamics, etc., it amuses me to no end that a "buzzword" electronic gadget can leapfrog them into that mythical "closest possible" position. Nonetheless, it's a credible rendition and well-done, if a little bland. In some ways it may be the most generally similar to Vellard's in contour, although lacking the color and attention to detail. This is one of the better things the Oxford Camerata have done.
When it comes to the songs, this is actually the bulk of the program by length. Le Veoir Dit is quite a collection, and this is a nice selection. The performance is all vocal, but not very articulate or evocative compared to similar possibilities.
So this is my little note to those readers who use this recording to explore Guillaume de Machaut, one of the undisputed all-time greats of Western culture, for the first time. This is a reasonable choice for such a starting point, and for US readers currently the best combination of price & availability, but keep in mind the dozens of more creative renditions that have previously appeared.
To purchasing information for this disc.
To FAQ references to this recording.
To FAQ CD index page.Todd M. McComb