Binchois et al.

The Spirits of England and France - 3
Binchois and his Contemporaries
Gothic Voices - Christopher Page
Hyperion 66783

This is some of my favorite repertory, and a fine addition to the recorded discography. The program is among the better such anthologies, with the Binchois songs especially welcome, even if many are duplicated elsewhere. The variety in performance is welcome.

Although the phrasing is uninvolved & lacking in detail at times, and the 3-lute arrangements are not as dynamic as I might like, the performance is still a strong one overall. The full harmonies are carried off well with the ensemble intonation, and there is some warmth that comes through. Fundamentally, the quality of the vocalists is among the best anywhere.

Although the chansons are the major part of the program, and the disc is listed as a secular item, the early 15th century sacred works also present a valuable cross-section. This is definitely the best performance of French songs that Gothic Voices has done, although some of the Latin items are strangely coarse-sounding.

The motley nature of the program ultimately prevents this disc from being more enjoyable over the long term.

To renaissance secular list

Todd M. McComb