Machaut: Messe Notre Dame

In Memoriam
Machaut: Messe Notre Dame
Ensemble Musica Nova - Lucien Kandel
Aeon 1093

Obviously, Machaut's Mass is one of the monuments of medieval music, here combined with some fine organ diminutions and isorhythmic motets. The overall program is a nice frame for the mass, even if the diminutions in the Kyrie portion are not canonical.

This recording is barely preferred to Diabolus in Musica's fine recent rendition of Machaut's Mass. It is impressive that such fine performances continue to appear for such a well-known work. Here the performance is particularly lucid, with an excellent sense of space between the different parts, especially for the isorhythmic pieces. The conductus-style movements of Machaut's mass are given an excellent coherence, even with a little slower pace than e.g. Clemencic.

The particular motets chosen are also of special significance in some cases, and are generally excellent material.

All in all, this is a superb release, one that can easily be argued as a good recommendation for first exposure by someone new to medieval music.

To medieval sacred list

Todd M. McComb
Updated: 4 September 2021