Le miroir de musique, Baptiste Romain
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he brothers (or possibly cousins) de Lantins were born in Liège and sought their fortune in Northern Italy. Their close career connections with each other and with Dufay, a fact confirmed by recent scholarship, suggests that the three were close acquaintances socially and musically. In fact, Arnold and Hugo’s music is a distinctive blend of advanced and archaic features, anticipating the music of the later 15th century, but occasionally recalling that of the ars subtilior of the end of the 14th.
The present selection of settings by both men of French, Italian and Latin texts is beautifully presented by the singers and instrumentalists of Le Miroir de Musique. They are absolutely at home with this repertoire, and their intelligent and highly musical readings are augmented by a genuine passion for the music. In fact, notwithstanding the title of the CD, three of the works are sacred works, the different musical texture also marking them out from the secular repertoire. The instrumental accompaniment to the voices revolves around a pair of vielles with lute, guittern, recorder and hurdy-gurdy although in a couple of the instrumental pieces the band branches out very effectively on to bagpipes, shawm, slide trumpet and pommer. These are lovely subtle but authoritative performances of little-known repertoire highlighting the strengths of contemporaries of Dufay and augmenting our knowledge of a fascinating period of musical flux.
D. James Ross