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The four members of New York Polyphony here present a programme which explores the themes of grief, loss and mortality.
Apart from the work by Jackson Hill on Guillaume de Machaut’s famous 14th century rondeau Ma fin… and two examples of plainsong, all works included on this disc, the ensemble’s first on BIS, were composed by masters of the Franco-Flemish school of polyphony from the first half of the 16th century.
Most of this music was partly used liturgically: the two Gregorian chants Libera me and In paradisum both form part of the Roman Catholic burial service
New York Polyphony was formed in 2006 and is establishing a reputation as an exceptionally fine vocal chamber ensemble.
Antoine Brumel: Missa pro defunctis
Libera me, Domine
Thomas Crecquillon: Lamentationes Jeremiae
Jacobus Clemens non Papa: Tristitia obsedit me / Infelix ego
Tristitia obsedit me / Infelix ego
Josquin des Prez: Absalon, fili mi
Absalon, fili mi
Josquin des Prez: Missa pro defunctis
Missa pro defunctis: In paradisum
Jackson Hill: Ma fin est mon commencement
Ma fin est mon commencement
22nd July 2012
“With an atmospheric cover of a destroyed chapel interior, this disc of mainly 16th-century vocal music is all about death and decay...Plainsong interleaves the polyphony: the effect is ethereally beautiful, but the tone is surely too unvaried and unbroken.”