Palestrina : Lamentations by Musica Contexta

Jerome Roche writing in Palestrina (Oxford Studies of Composers), claims that Palestrina wrote 41 complete sets of Lamentations for Tenebrae, although in his notes to their recording of Lamentations for Holy Thursday, Book III, Simon Ravens, director of Musica Contexta, says that only four sets survive. These Lamentations come from the Roman liturgy for Holy Week, which […]

Palestrina : Missa Ad coenam Agni

Stephen Rice’s Brabant Ensemble is a choir that closely resembles, at least in size, the kind of vocal group Palestrina would have been familiar with.  Generally utilizing three singers to a part Palestrina’s polyphony is put across clearly and strongly.   The documentary evidence indicates that this mass falls early in Palestrina’s career, but it is not a […]

The Polyphonic Lais of Guillaume de Machaut : Overview + Recordings

Fourteenth-century France exhibits the effects of an era grappling for an identity through its language, poetry and music. Amidst intellectual rigidity and diurnal despair, this transitional period enfeebled by medieval traditions yet aspired to humanist artistry. Guillaume de Machaut, illustrious poet-composer in the medieval myth, offered a means of embellishing life through a variety of […]