Reine du Ciel / Diabolus in Musica
DU FAY: Missa Ave Regina Celorum


[18.4.2021]


bayardmusique.com | medieval.org

Bayard Musique 308 611
Recording: December 2021
Release: April 2021









1. Ave Regina celorum : Antienne (Plain-chant)
2. Ave Regina celorum : Motet

Missa Ave Regina celorum
3. Salve sancta parens (Intro´t)
4. KYRIE eleison
5. GLORIA in excelsis Deo
6. Benedicta et venerabilis es, Virgo Maria (Graduel)
7. Alleluia, Virga Jesse
8. CREDO in unum Deum
9. Felix namque es (Offertoire)
10. SANCTUS
11. AGNUS DEI
12. Beata viscera (Communion)

13. Salve Regina (Motet)



L’ensemble Diabolus in Musica interprète la Messe Ave Regina celorum, ultime chef d’œuvre de Guillaume Du Fay, très grand représentant du génie musical français, l’un des compositeurs les plus importants de notre histoire.

Quand il compose sa messe Ave Regina celorum au milieu du XVe siècle (1464), Guillaume Du Fay est sans doute le plus célèbre compositeur d’Europe. Après avoir voyagé en Savoie et en Italie (il a travaillé pour la chapelle pontificale), c’est imprégné de l’art de la Renaissance italienne qu’il revient sur ses terres natales, à Cambrai, pour y prendre la responsabilité de maître de chapelle de la cathédrale.
Les différentes parties de cette messe s’inspirent du thème grégorien de l’Ave Regina celorum. Le compositeur y atteint des sommets d’expressivité, une maîtrise confondante du contrepoint et des sonorités brillantes qui laissent deviner un humanisme touchant et raffiné. Pour la dernière et la plus importante œuvre de sa vie, le maître cambrésien va déployer tous ses talents dans une immense architecture musicale, avec d’impressionnantes complexités rythmiques, toujours au service de la dévotion et de la beauté. Du Fay réussit le tour de force de rendre parfaitement audible la mélodie de l’antienne grégorienne dont il s’est servi pour composer sa messe, enrobée dans une polyphonie dense et extrêmement brillante. Cette messe marque donc le spectaculaire épanouissement du Moyen Âge et laisse déjà entendre les évolutions stylistiques menant lentement vers la Renaissance.

C’est une œuvre majeure de la musique polyphonique du XVe siècle, accompagnée sur cet album par des pièces de plain-chant et d’autres compositions de Guillaume Du Fay dédiées à la Vierge ; des œuvres qui nous replacent au cœur de la dévotion mariale et musicale d’une grande cathédrale au XVe siècle.

« La dernière messe de Du Fay, ultime chef d’œuvre du Moyen Âge, annonçant la Renaissance, à la fois éblouissante apothéose et aube prometteuse, en l’honneur de la Vierge Marie ».





[18.4.2021]


[20.4.2021]


medieval.org Remarks

http://www.medieval.org/emfaq/cds/remarks.html
19 April 2021
Todd M. McComb

———


When a recent correspondent let me know about the new Diabolus in Musica Reine du Ciel album, centered on Dufay's Missa Ave Regina Celorum, I was excited: After all, recent momentum — especially after the amazing new Ockeghem album just reviewed — had me anticipating a great reading. Moreover, Diabolus in Musica has recorded Dufay albums already (including the Missa Se la face ay pale), plus their recent Requiem disc (with its Ockeghem cycle from around the same time period) was quite coherent....

Yet despite adding Reine du Ciel promptly to my personal list, I guess I was still disappointed: In some sense, this entry is then a reflection on that situation, basically that a new album could immediately include the most appealing rendition of a significant work & still be disappointing.... But I guess that's always a possibility in the world of historical recreation!

And that this interpretation involves significant improvements to both prior concepts & technique seems obvious enough, but after a strong reading of the opening plainchant, the central polytextual motet immediately comes off relatively timidly & even as a little awkward (versus e.g. its sometimes dance-like passagework).... Some of this might have to do with the part doubling & so coordination, defended almost defiantly by Guerber in the brief discussion, but mostly I think the ensemble just didn't spend as much time rehearsing and/or performing the piece in public before recording.

If the situation is really as simple as that, I suppose it's not nearly among the top covid tragedies, but still unfortunate.... Oh well. But then, per the contradictory tenor of this entry, it's nonetheless the best recorded performance we have available, so I should still celebrate, right!?





http://www.medieval.org/music/early/cdc/bay8611.html

The repertory is among the most interesting to me, being Dufay's final mass setting plus related motets. Both the mass cycle & polytextual motet (i.e. the one on which the former is based) are among Dufay's most personal as well. So this is a great program, performing irreplaceable works of the period....

But considering the context, i.e. so many great interpretations of Franco-Flemish polyphony appearing of late, not to mention so much work in this arena (including for Dufay specifically...) by this particular ensemble (including their own more satisfying recent Requiem disc), I'm actually finding this rendition to be a little disappointing. It's still the best for this mass... but isn't as polished as some other recent items. (The plainchant comes off relatively more powerfully, actually.) So perhaps that's a strange response.

In any case, the result is still a decent (& conceptually sound) reading of excellent music. And actually among the easiest choices for this list!

Todd M. McComb




[20.4.2021]