Agricola: Cecus

Cecus – Colours, blindness and memorial
Alexander Agricola and his contemporaries
Graindelavoix - Björn Schmelzer
Glossa 32105

This is one of those programs that doesn't fit very well into the various neat little "buckets" I use to catalog recordings. Likewise, or because of that, it also isn't something that triggers my mind to seek it out. So for those reasons, this item has been slow to appear here.

However, it's a very good recording. The items chosen, both secular & sacred, are highly appealing and interesting. The performance style is superb, bringing out great individual character in the pieces and showing the various lines & rhythms with clarity. Even the discussion and analysis surrounding the program is exemplary for its original approach and insight.

The Agricola and La Rue pieces are clearly the highlights here, with the opening romance being surprisingly appealing. The inclusion of the Anchieta piece is a natural, given the theme, but it is kind of stiff contrapuntally. Champion is basically a discovery of Schmelzer, and this item does have appeal.

At this point, I feel almost embarrassed to have been so slow to recognize what a significant release this is. It's a bit over-orchestrated for my taste in the secular works, which are also the center of the program, but ends up being an increasingly compelling recording. This seems to be the release where Graindelavoix really puts things together.

To renaissance secular list

Todd M. McComb
Updated: 24 July 2011