North East Post
A Voice of the Free Press
Andrew Palmer
Group Editor
3:00 AM 5th February 2023

Classical Music: Songs From Remede De Fortune De Machaut

Guillaume de Machaut
Songs from Remede de fortune

Qui n'aroit autre deport; Tieus rit au main; Joye, plaisance; En amer a douce vie; Dame, de qui toute ma joie vient; Dame, a vous sans retollir; Dame, mon cuer en vous remaint; Dame de qui toute ma joie vient.

The Orlando Consort
Matthew Venner countertenor, Mark Dobell tenor, Angus Smith tenor, Donald Greig baritone.

Hyperion CDA68399

This may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for lovers of medieval music it will be unadulterated joy. It is the ninth release in the continuing survey of the great fourteenth-century composer-poet Guillaume de Machaut.

As Anne Stone points out in her first-rate notes, the Remede de Fortune is one of two of Machaut’s dits amoureux to feature interpolated musical compositions (songs from the other one, Le Voir Dit, were recorded by The Orlando Consort on Hyperion CDA67727). The simple story is a frame providing Machaut the opportunity to explore deeper issues of philosophy, psychology and artistic achievement. It is at once a coming-of-age story charting the emotional life of a young man; a manual for proper courtly behaviour toward ladies; an encyclopaedia of lyric and musical forms of the mid-fourteenth century; and a granular description of courtly life.

Formed in 1988 by the Early Music Network of Great Britain it has rapidly achieved a reputation as one of Europe’s most expert and consistently challenging groups performing repertoire from the years of 1050 to 1550. This disc confirms not only the group’s status as a leading interpreter of music from the Middle Ages but also its consistency in performing to the highest standard. The faultless singing is impressive whether it be just one voice, a duet, trio or when they come together seamlessly as a quartet maintaining an excellent blend and tone.

Each track is beautifully phrased and sung and Matthew Venner’s countertenor tone is smooth and warm,

On the first three tracks we hear individually from first, baritone Donald Grieg, followed by tenor Angus Smith, then tenor Mark Dobell and, although each voice is exposed for five minutes, they nevertheless hold pitch are urbane, relaxed and eloquently convey the message of de Machaut’s wonderful poetry.

The recording engineers have impeccably captured the expressive narrative making this yet another exceptional addition to the previous eight albums. As an a capella group dedicated to, and champions of, music for this era, there is none better than the accomplished Orlando Consort.