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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67474
Recording details: January 2004
All Saints, Tooting, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Neil Hutchinson
Release date: March 2005
Total duration: 4 minutes 12 seconds

'these singers are superbly experienced in this kind of repertoire, and they thrill us with the supple lines of the Alleluia, the vigour of the Credo and the swirling counterpoint of the Sanctus … These singers are at their best, though, in the Binchois Agnus—sustaining the endless phrases with great continuity and musical sense' (BBC Music Magazine)

'This is exquisite, intricate music, and the Binchois Consort are ideal interpreters of its subtleties—and they're even more persuasive in the motets and Mass movements by their namesake' (The Independent)

'The Binchois Consort have by now established themselves as pre-eminent interpreters of Dufay's sacred music. Andrew Kirkman has an unfailing touch in matters of tempo, rhythm and vocal balance. The all-male voices are svelte, polished and immaculately in tune. The Consort's beautifully burnished tone is well served by the sympathetic acoustic of All Saints Church, Tooting, faithfully captured by Hyperion's engineers. Add to these an unusually expansive and informative set of booklet essays by Philip Weller and the whole package is irresistible' (International Record Review)

'This is music of spellbinding beauty, and Kirkman's team deliver it superbly' (The Times)

'The blend is immaculate, the sound refined, the impetus well sustained. They relish the play of lines. And they sound devout' (The Sunday Times)

Domitor Hectoris
composer
author of text

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Domitor Hectoris falls into two sections and exhibits varied duo combinations between the three individual voices, as well as the full trio texture. The rise and fall of the vocal lines is handled with Binchois’s customary fluency and intelligence, and, as in many of the songs, the meditative plangency of the idiom is shot through with distinctive melodic and rhythmic features which allow the music to grow and intensify without undermining its essentially poetic and lyric mode of utterance. The sense of sheer ease and flow is seductive, but also to an extent deceptive. The melodic contours are in fact delicately controlled and the music’s trajectory carefully plotted, yet without any sense of inappropriate rigour or constraint. The same goes for the overall pacing and for the expressive ‘points of arrival’ within the course of the piece, which all seem quite effortless but are in fact beautifully – and surely quite consciously – judged. All in all, Binchois’s subtle rhetorical expansion of the motet’s ‘lyric moment’ has been effected with a sense of naturalness that artfully conceals the mechanics of elaboration. Indeed, Binchois had no equal as a melodist in the fifteenth century, and this is as apparent here as in his rondeaux and ballades. The motet text is a subtly woven tissue of ideas and images elaborated around the concepts of the Cross and the Holy Lance, and their symbolic place in the scheme of Christian redemption. Though the theological and symbolic associations are complex and ramified, the poem itself is lucidly expressed, with a beautiful simplicity and concision, and shows, like Binchois’s music, an exquisite sense of expressive tact and decorum.

from notes by Philip Weller © 2005

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