Cypriot Vespers

Album cover art for upc 8424562321120
Label: Glossa
Catalog: GCDP32112
Format: CD

Graindelavoix; Schmelzer, Björn

The little-known composer Jean Hanelle was a petit vicaire (professional musician) at Cambrai Cathedral and possibly later a teacher of Guillaume Dufay, also spending more than 20 years from 1411 onwards at the French court of Lusignan in Nicosia, Cyprus, a stay which involved him becoming the chapelmaster there. According to leading scholars, Hanelle was the author of the ars subtilior cycle of Magnificat-antiphons- the so called “O” Antiphons traditionally performed during the last week of Advent- found in the Codex Cyprus and included in this new Graindelavoix production. Both the original troped plainchant and the Hanelle antiphons are presented in a series of nine pairs, between which the ensemble also performs an appropriate and context-defining selection of Maronite and Byzantine chants. The Belgian ensemble, as always directed by Bjorn Schmelzer, performs these pieces, marked by a moving beauty with one female and eight male singers, producing another of their peculiar and intriguing soundscapes. Alexandre Fostier has been responsible for engineering the recording. Therein he emphasizes Schmelzer’s aesthetic vision which considers this project as the second part of a diptych; the first part was the cutting-edge version of Guillaume de Machaut’s Mess de Nostre Dame, similarly recorded and released earlier this year.

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