English Ars Nova Polyphony

Honi soit qui mal y pense!
Polyphonies des chapelles royales anglaises (1328-1410)
Diabolus in Musica - Antoine Guerber
Alpha Productions 022

This is an interesting program illustrating the English output from the Ars Nova period of the fourteenth century. England's music was very conservative for the period, maintaining high continuity with Ars Antiqua. At its best, the shifting tonal colors of Ars Antiqua style combine with the increased rhythmic sophistication of Ars Nova notation to produce a kaleidoscopic result.

This performance takes good advantage of this ensemble's very high facility with Ars Antiqua polyphony to produce a sumptuous sound, showing good continuity with the older style. Articulation is wonderful.

While the program cannot be considered definitive in any sense, coming as it does from many sources, it is quite satisfying as a coherent look at English music in this era.

This disc was named my EM Record of the Year for 2002.

To medieval sacred list

Todd M. McComb