Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us

The Spirits of England and France - V

Gothic Voices/Christopher Page
Missa Veterem hominem - An anonymous English Mass c.1440

Jesu fili virginis à 3
To many a well à 3 [in English]
Sancta Maria virgo à 3
Mater ora filium à 3
Dunstaple: Beata mater à 3

Catherine King (alto), Steven Harrold (tenor), Julian Podger (tenor), Leigh Nixon (tenor), Stephen Charlesworth (baritone), Donald Greig (baritone)

Hyperion Helios 55285
[CD Recorded 1996 TT 65']

The 4-voice anonymous English Missa Veterem hominem (c.1440) was influential toward introducing English ideas on mass composition into Continental practice. It is splendid polyphonic music, its animated and syncopated passages sung here with full throated vigour "as in a festive clamour, fast and loud" [Andrew Kirkman & Christopher Page] .

The other 3-part pieces are equally enjoyable, especially To many a well in medieval English. They are interspeced with monodic chant which I have not listed; more for specialists and I chose to pass by most of them.

Fine singing in a suitable acoustic with just a little resonance to give atmosphere.

This reissue is well worth hearing by non-specialists. Do try it, &/or its French companion Missa Caput [CDH 55284]

Peter Grahame Woolf