Compère: Chansons, etc.

Loyset Compère
Orlando Consort
Hyperion 68069

Compère wrote in a wide variety of genres, from the frottola or more populist chanson, to the older tradition of chansons, plus innovative material in that courtly genre, motets, motet-chansons, Magnificats, cantus firmus mass cycles, and even mass-motet cycles. This program opens with a Magnificat setting, follows with a very fine motet-chanson, and ends with a motet of questionable attribution. In between, we get chansons, but bridging some of the styles mentioned above.

It's a worthwhile program throughout (except maybe the last track, which doesn't do much for me), and I welcome the focus on the secular music. The Orlando Consort is also an ensemble with a long history with Compère, his music appearing on five of their albums, this being the second devoted exclusively to him.

Nonetheless, the program is a bit arbitrary in its selection, although I don't know what else would be done, other than a larger collection. However, my issue is with the recorded sound, which focuses on the resonance of the highest voice, and makes much of the musical lines difficult to hear. This is especially problematic in hearing the more motivic sections, where balance is needed.

Hyperion needs to fix this issue, which appears to be systemic, because it mars an otherwise very worthwhile issue. Let us hear all the voices clearly!

To renaissance secular list

Todd M. McComb