Basevi Codex

Music at the Court of Margaret of Austria
Dorothee Mields, Boreas Quartett Bremen
audite 97.783

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The Basevi Codex is a music manuscript associated with the Mechelen Court of Margaret of Austria, produced by the famous Alamire workshop and containing mainly secular music by such big names of the early 16th century as Pierre de la Rue, Loyset Compère, Antoine Brumel, Matthaeus Pipelare, Johannes Ockeghem, Alexander Agricola, Johannes Prioris, Jacob Obrecht, Heinrich Isaac and Johannes Ghiselin. The Boreas Quartett of Bremen are a superb recorder quartet, who give beautifully nuanced instrumental performances of some of the material, while also blending wonderfully with the voice of Dorothee Mields – one of my favourite moments of the whole CD is in the account of de la Rue’s Plorer gemier where Mield’s voice magically emerges from the recorder ensemble texture singing the Requiem cantus. This enchanting blend amongst the recorders and in turn with the voice is a major asset of this revelatory CD. The account of three movements from Obrecht’s Missa Fortuna desperata highlights the expressive potential of this combination of recorders and voice, and makes a very plausible case for the performance of this fine music in a secular chamber context.

D. James Ross

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