Ensemble Dumont - La Messe Du Roi - BBC Music Magazine
18 April 2001BBC Music Magazine
The Ensemble Dumont follows up its excellent debut disc of Litanies by the composer who has lent his name to the group with another selection of pieces cast in a liturgical sequence appropriate to mid-17th Century Bourbon worship. Also included here is a High Mass by Henri Fremart in the polyphonic style current in the earlier part of the century. Henri Dumont was a Flemish composerwho was attracted to Paris and Louis XIV's court, where he held a number of important posts between 1660 and 1683. The component parts of the Low Mass featured here are an introductory Prelude for viols, a grand motet for voices and instruments, a petit motet for solo soprano soprano and viols and two small scale movements. Throughout, the Ensemble has opted for a one-voice-to-a-part approach rather than one requiring vocal and instrumental reinforcement. Dumont's grands motets set a standard pattern for almost all later French composers and it is not difficult to understand why. This is beautifully crafted, often poignantly affecting music which is performed with gracefulness and sensibility by artists who are ever alert to the subtlest of inflective nuances. The Fremart Mass, with its stronger contrapuntal axis and five solo organ interpolations, is a pleasing rarity, excellently sung and well worth a detour. But it is above all the Dumont that I shall be listening to many times over.
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