Florence CD Review in the Observer “Peerless”

Florence CD Review in the Observer “Peerless”

The Observer, Fiona Maddocks, 14 Jan 2023

More than four decades since its foundation, the ensemble Gothic Voices – usually four voices, with occasional additions – has lost none of its finesse or gleam. Newer groups, inspired by their example, have sprung up since, but Gothic Voices’ performance of medieval music remains peerless. Their pioneering 1985 album of music by Hildegard of Bingen, A Feather on the Breath of God, remains the best (and bestselling) of its kind.

Gothic Voices.

The ensemble’s latest, The Splendour of Florence (Linn), subtitled “With a Burgundian Resonance”, with Andrew Lawrence-King on harp, features songs and motets by the Franco-Flemish composers Dufay and Ockeghem and others, mostly drawn from two Florentine sources. Detailed notes by the group’s tenor, Julian Podger, invite us into the world of early Renaissance Italy: enough to say, here, that the last work on the disc, Dufay’s Nuper rosarum flores, was written for the consecration of Florence’s new cathedral in 1436. Whether or not this music really mirrors the magical proportions of the city’s most famous landmark, it is certainly just as sublime.

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