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Thread: Guillaume de Machaut

  1. #1
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    Default Guillaume de Machaut

    My favorite pre-tonal composer! In particular, I love his secular music, both monophonic and polyphonic. His contemporaries didn't seem to be of his level (though to be fair, most of his work survived, unlike his contemporaries, because he went through lengths to make sure it would).

    Even in his more complex polyphonic works, Machaut's melodies were always great. His sense of cadence was profound and ahead of his time (I understand that double leading tone cadences, which Machaut often used, may be hard to appreciate by modern tonal-conditioned ears).

    "The Mirror of Narcissus" by Gothic Voices is probably my favorite recording.

    Here are some of my favorite pieces:







    Thoughts? Opinions? Recommendations?
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    Senior Member Ramako's Avatar
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    I like those links - the top one but the middle one especially.

    Some time ago I bought the Notre Dame and some chansons in a version by The Hilliard Ensemble and had remained unimpressed, but I usually find motets more interesting than masses.
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    My favorite interpretation of the Notre Dame Mass (that I've heard so far) is by Ensemble Organum. I think that the full/rich eastern sound works well.

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    Awesome. He's said to be the first famous composer in Western music history. Definitely worthy for people to check out.


    Here's a cool little 3cd set by the Ensemble Gilles Binchois for $6 Amazon mp3:

    http://www.amazon.com/De-Machaut-Sac...ie=UTF8&sr=1-2
    I never am sea sick... never. I am sea drunk. Quite different.

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    Good as he is, don't forget Hildegard of Bingen born about 200 years earlier.
    Music begins where words leave off. Music expresses the inexpressible.

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    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    Machaut is wonderful. He is better known as a poet. Literary historians, or so I heard, are sometimes surprised to hear he was a musician: "He wrote music too? Huh."

    I like the Gothic Voices too, but their way of performing these works is not typical. More often they would have been done by a solo voice with instruments on the other lines, hence the weird staggered entrances on the same syllable in the recording.

    If you don't have it already, you must buy Gothic Voices' The Garden of Zephirus. Contains examples of some of the most rhythmically and metrically complex western music composed before the 20th century, some from the papal court at Avignon, along with three works by Guillaume Dufay, who has some amazingly beautiful chanson.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taggart View Post
    Good as he is, don't forget Hildegard of Bingen born about 200 years earlier.
    How amazing is that, to have access to music composed ~900 years ago. So, is she the oldest documented composer of western music?
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    Moderator Taggart's Avatar
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    Probably. Kassia is earlier but is in the Orthodox or eastern tradition. Notker the Stammerer comes next but although his Liber hymnorum, created between 881 and 887, is an early collection of Sequences, which he called "hymns", mnemonic poems for remembering the series of pitches sung during a melisma in plainchant, especially in the Alleluia. It is unknown how many or which of the works contained in the collection are his. The hymn Media Vita, was erroneously attributed to him late in the Middle Ages.
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    Music begins where words leave off. Music expresses the inexpressible.

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    Senior Member Vesuvius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taggart View Post
    Probably. Kassia is earlier but is in the Orthodox or eastern tradition. Notker the Stammerer comes next but although his Liber hymnorum, created between 881 and 887, is an early collection of Sequences, which he called "hymns", mnemonic poems for remembering the series of pitches sung during a melisma in plainchant, especially in the Alleluia. It is unknown how many or which of the works contained in the collection are his. The hymn Media Vita, was erroneously attributed to him late in the Middle Ages.
    Wow, we're reaching the cusp of an epoc here. Thanks, Tag.
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    I never am sea sick... never. I am sea drunk. Quite different.

    Stravinsky

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    ike AvantThought I like Ensemble Organum's recording of Messe de Notre Dame. I'm very interested in chant, I wish I knew more about it. Another Machault Cd that's interesting is L'amoureus tourment, the CD by Marc Mauillon, with a track - Loyeuté que point ne delay - which lasts for over half an hour.

    The CD which EdwardBast mentions I haven't heard. I loved their Machault CD called The Mirror of Narcissus. Probably my favourite Machault secular CD is the one from Studio der Frühen Musik.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Dec-17-2013 at 21:58.
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