Chansonnier Cordiforme

Straight from the Heart
The Chansonnier Cordiforme
Ensemble Leones - Marc Lewon
Naxos 8.573325

These are some of the finest songs ever written, and repertory of the highest possible interest. Although at this point, many of these items have been recorded in other collections, many have not been. (These two sentences began the entry for the earlier, classic triple album by The Consort of Musicke, with its increasingly dated sound & articulation.)

The Chansonnier Cordiforme continues to be one of the most important sources for this repertory, and the present single CD album presents a very well-selected cross-section, including in different languages, and with different musical styles in both the writing & interpretation.

Interpretation makes an emphasis on variety, an emphasis that wouldn't have been out of place for the medieval mind, even if switching styles in one program would have been unlikely. Some songs use voices in all parts, some use one or two voices, varying the parts, some double the voices with instruments (a practice I've never enjoyed that much, but which is executed well here), some are done in all-instrumental arrangements, some with diminutions, etc.

This album would make an excellent introduction to the mid-to-late fifteenth century secular repertory in general, and is highly recommended on that basis.

To renaissance secular list

Todd M. McComb
Updated: 23 October 2016