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GRAMOPHONE (08/2015)
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Reviewer: David Fallows


The Dufay Collective have been around for 25 years, generally focusing on the more folksy aspects of medieval music; William Lyons seems to be the only consistent member. Here they join forces with the relatively new vocal trio Voice (Victoria Couper, Emily Burn and Clemmie Franks), one of several such groups competing for the slot left by the reputed imminent dissolution of Anonymous 4. They sound excellent, though there is not enough information in the booklet-notes to know which singer is which.


The surprise is that almost nothing on this new CD of English music from the 14th and 15th centuries seems ever to have been recorded before. It has all been available for years in modern editions apart from the few pieces that Lyons has patched together from bits and pieces or even simply composed. The sad news is that so many of the songs are divested of their texts and used as instrumental ensemble pieces. And when the texts are sung, the performers show little interest in their form. All the same, it is truly wonderful to hear a song like ‘Wyth ryth al my herte’ (in the reconstruction by Frank Llewellyn Harrison) with its endless repetition of the name of ‘Annys’. Also particularly welcome is the closing suite of melodies from the Gresley Dances (c1500): this probably represents The Dufay Collective at their best, not adding too much of their own to the melodies but assembling them into an entertaining 10 minutes of music.



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