Busnois: Missa "O crux lignum" / Motets / Chansons
Orlando Consort
Harmonia Mundi USA 907333

Busnois was one of the great chanson writers of the period, and while this disc does include some songs, they are not featured. Moreover, the performances are relatively weaker than those of the sacred works. This is unfortunate, because Busnois' songs remain largely unavailable on recording, and certainly not collected in one convenient place.

The disc is dedicated primarily to sacred works, and here the performance is rather good. Certainly the commitment is there, including a good attention to detail. While the sound can be a bit choppy & strident at times, the features of the pieces are presented clearly & intelligently. The overall approach is very much typical of the Orlando Consort, as they slowly continue to improve their command of this repertory.

While Busnois' sacred works are not always among the most appealing of the period to me, they still have definite merit & importance, along with many stimulating features. This program does not include Busnois' best-known motets, rather opting for a couple of more obscure pieces of recent attribution.

Nonetheless, this music has become more interesting to me with time, such that the historical significance takes on a more audible creative feel. This is the best performance of a Busnois mass to date, and so an important disc, even if not completely satisfying.

To renaissance sacred list

Todd M. McComb
Updated: 29 September 2009