Jehan de Lescurel

Fontaine de grace
Jehan de Lescurel: Ballades, virelais et rondeaux
Ensemble Gilles Binchois - Dominique Vellard
Virgin Veritas 45066

The choice of an all-Lescurel program was something of a surprise to me, especially given that more famous trouvères like Gace Brulé & Adam de la Halle had not been blessed with similar surveys. Nonetheless, there is some fine material here, and it went a long way toward establishing Lescurel in my estimation.

Melodically, there is a great deal of continuity with the monophonic works of Machaut. Although they are in different "eras" (Ars Antiqua vs. Ars Nova), Lescurel probably presents the closest kinship with Machaut's less tense style.

The performance is outstanding, based on obvious preparation and careful decisions. Sonorities are wonderful, and most of all the internal tension of the melodies is brought out extremely well. This continues to be an easy recording to recommend, even as some more recent productions of related material start to surpass it in performance details..

To medieval secular list

Todd M. McComb