Design by Austin Boyer
The Four Tenor Fairs – Rondo Magazine
All tenor fairs of Guillaume Dufay – ie the fairs in which a “foreign melody” is the pre-existent axis of the composition – in a two-CD box: This is a great idea, especially for at least two of the fairs in addition to the preexisting template as meaningful supplement is offered. We are especially happy about this song “Se la face ay pale”, which until now was only available on a long-out-of-print CD version of the ensemble “Chiaroscuro” at the fair – but there in an interpretation that is barely edible due to its intonation impurity. And in the case of “Missa Ave regina celorum”, not only the Gregorian antiphon itself, but also an idiosyncratic motetic version of this antiphon (with Dufay’s own text insert) is included in the present production.
However, the interpretative quality is very pleasing: Jesse Rodin has gathered a group of outstanding singers who are obviously very experienced with this kind of music. In the treble women are heard, which is unhistorical, but of course very appealing. The ensemble offers a sonically beautiful and sonorous as well as transparent and structurally clear realization. Although the Cantus firmi, which is what this collection is all about, are not as good at vocal instrumentation as they are in the recent vocal-instrumental interpretation of “Se la face” by “Cantica Symphonia” (Glossa) – but to what extent such an occupation is historical, remains questionable despite interesting sound result.
One point of criticism, however, was added: Anyone who wants to find out about the backgrounds of the music on the basis of the booklet should be able to speak English well. At least the German translation is technically so flawed that the words of the English-speaking author often can not be understood. Too bad that such a mishap can happen with such careful production as this one.