Sovereign Beauty CDA68134

The fourth in our series, Sovereign Beauty was Gramophone Editor's Choice on its release. Judged against modern standards, Machaut had a limited harmonic palette to employ, working as he did to the contemporary conventions of writing for one to four voices. It is just one measure of his genius that this is turned to such advantage in 2- part pieces such as ‘Quant j’ay l’espart’ there is a telling sparseness that supports the sentiments of the song, while the 4-part ‘Se quanque Amours’  emerges from smaller-scale songs to strike the listener with a phenomenal richness and complexity of character.

Recording details: January 2015
Parish Church of St John the Baptist, Loughton, Essex, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by David Hinitt
Release date: July 2017
Total duration: 63 minutes 26 seconds


‘If I hear a finer recording of 14th-century music this year I’ll be very surprised’ (Gramophone)

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What am I listening to?

You are listening to Je suis aussi com cils qui est ravis, a ballade by Guillaume de Machaut for three voices. As Tamsyn Mahoney-Steel puts it in her excellent liner notes for The Single Rose, our most recent recording for Hyperion Records, it is “the song of one depleted by the ravages of love.” “My head is filled with no thoughts …. Save for those of my lady love,” laments the poet-composer. You can hear more on the Hyperion website, read the engaging liner notes, and order or download tracks or the entire album in a number of formats.