Dunstable - Musician to the Plantagenets

John Dunstaple
Musician to the Plantagenets
Orlando Consort
Metronome 1009

Dunstaple wrote some very significant music, and this program illustrates all of the major genres. As such, it is extremely valuable, and contains a good variety of very interesting music. Some of the 3-voice settings tend to be a little more mundane, but there is always an architectural solidity about this music, combined with graceful melodic motion, that makes it quite affecting.

The performance is committed & well-conceived. The articulation is relatively clear and the formal schemes are digested and laid out with insight, although they tend to be lax on cadential motion. There is also a degree of "stutter" effect which seems to plague the Orlando Consort, and keeps this recording from flowing as smoothly as it could. Nonetheless, it's a clear winner overall and the better articulation makes it easily more compelling than the classic Hilliard disc.

This disc was named my EM Record of the Year for 1995. With the Hilliard reissue, and the new release from Clemencic, it makes less impact than it did, but is still an easy choice.

To medieval sacred list

Todd M. McComb