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Flame of Ireland: Medieval Irish Plainchant; An Office for Saint Brigit.

Flame of Ireland: Medieval Irish Plainchant; An Office for Saint Brigit. Canty. Gaudeamus CD GAU 354, 2005.

Canty is a Scottish quartet of female vocalists whose shared resume includes work with Capella Nova, the Sixteen, the Tallis Scholars, and the Monteverdi Choir, their focus is on the medieval period, though they also commission modern works. On this program they focus on music for the Office of Matins for the Feast of Saint Brigit, the patron saint of Ireland. Their source is the fifteenth-century breviary known as Manuscript 80, which is housed in the library of Trinity College, Dublin, and includes a wealth of material related to Saint Brigit. Much of the music it contains has never been recorded before, and this disc--which includes more than thirty responsories, lections and antiphons from the collection--offers both a fascinating window on the ways the traditional Sarum Rite was adapted for use in Irish churches during this period and a listening experience of rare and sumptuous loveliness. The most obvious point of comparison for Canty is the identically-configured Anonymous 4, and while Canty does not quite achieve the latter's miraculously seamless vocal blend, there is a warmth to Canty's sound that is sometimes lacking in Anonymous 4's highly polished performances. Accompanied by harpist William Taylor (here playing a traditional wire-strung clairseach), the group invests this music with a passionate immediacy that brings to mind some of the exemplary interpretations of Hildegard von Bingen recorded by Sequentia in the 1980s. Very highly recommended to all early music collections.
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Author:Anderson, Rick
Date:Dec 1, 2005
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