FORTUNA ANTIQUA ET ULTAMedieval Songs of Fate, Fortune and Fin'amor
Gace Brulé, Adam De La Halle, Blondel De Nesles, Philippe De Vitry, Guillaume Dufay, Gaucelm Faidit, Audefroi Le Bastart, Guillaume De Machaut
Christopher Preston Thompson, tenor and medieval harp | director
Karin Weston, soprano
Clifton Massey, countertenor
David Dickey, countertenor and recorder
Andrew Padgett, bass
Niccolo Seligmann, vielle
"There is no doubt about the skill of the performers... especially evident in the balance and clarity of their interpretations of the polyphonic selections."
Brewer, American Record Guide [September/October 2022]
"The six members of the group include three singers, two singer-players (including the director), and a vielle player. It has not taken long for them to develop the skill that these pieces demand... Unless there is more to find on the theme of Fortune, this must mean the first in a series of Concordian Dawn’s recordings of medieval music for MSR Classics. This ambitious goal promises much, for this disc is a worthy beginning."
J. F. Weber, Fanfare [November/December 2022]
“Who needs a DeLorean equipped with a flux capacitor to travel back in time when all you need to do is drop this CD in your player, sit back, close your eyes, and drift back almost a thousand years into the heart of the Middle Ages? … That's precisely what the ensemble for medieval music Concordian Dawn capture and project so well in this recording. Like folk singers performing to a small audience in a cozy coffee house, there's an intimate and laid-back quality to their delivery… Unfortunately, anyone living back in 1172 is not here to attest to the performance's authenticity, but based on what I hear it's most likely as close as it gets. The booklet notes point out that this is a Candlewood Digital high resolution 'Natural Presence' recording, and it certainly lives up to its description, with an acoustically impeccable sound set in a naturally ambient soundscape.”
Jean-Yves Duperron, Classical Music Sentinel [July 2022]
"Machaut’s music is not always easy listening. But here we find a fine sense of vocal balance, an attention to textual detail and clarity (with clear consonants), and a sense that every rhythm is significant...
Concordian Dawn’s rendition of this piece left me wanting to hear it again."
Gary Higginson, MusicWeb International [August 2022]
"A primary attraction of some recordings...is their sheer sound. Whatever the merits and interests of the specific pieces performed may be, it is the combinatorial nature of the instruments selected to bring forth those pieces that is the most-engaging element of the presentation. This can be true both in instrumental works and in vocal ones – the latter case being exemplified by a very interesting and very well-sung CD of very old music on the MSR Classics label. The performers here are the members of a medieval-music ensemble called Concordian Dawn, whose thoughtful approach to its chosen material is reflected in the tripartite role of Christopher Preston Thompson as conductor, tenor, and performer on the medieval harp... [With the exception of Guillaume Dufay,] all the creators of these vocal works will likely be wholly unknown to most listeners. But that scarcely matters, since it is the elegance, sensitivity and panache of the performers, and the unusual sound of their ensemble, that are the most attractive elements of the recording... [the performances are] are straightforward and quite expressive, not only in the choral works but also in solo-voice pieces... even those not enamored of music of this time period will find that the lovely interpretations offered here help bridge the very long expanse of time between these composers’ era and our own – while the sound of the instruments and voices, although different from what we are accustomed to, is by no means inferior and is immediately recognizable as being of very high artistic quality."
Mark J. Estren, InfoDad [August 2022]
"It’s exciting to discover an up-and-coming early-music ensemble, especially one with a focus on Medieval repertory. Concordian Dawn is just such an ensemble, and one to watch.... [Concordian Dawn] excels at blend and intonation... The solo tracks are compelling as well; Thompson’s reverberant harp perfectly bolsters Blondel de Nesles’s melancholy L’amour don’t sui espris... The last track, Gace Brulé’s despondent Quant voi la flour boutener, is a real standout. It’s a promising debut, one that might well leave its listeners filled with desire and hope for another album in due course; may fortune favor us all."
Karen Cook, Early Music America [March 2022]
PROGRAM NOTESFortuna Antiqua et Ultra was first performed in 2018 at a Gothic Arts Interdisciplinary Symposium hosted by the University of Pennsylvania. The symposium’s opening description contained a quote from Thomas Aquinas: “Art is the imitation of nature. Works of art are successful to the extent that they achieve a likeness of nature.” It is in this vein that our program has developed since its nascent performance, evolving in scope against a backdrop of turbulent political machinations and global health crisis. The last year has given us all ample time to reflect on the quality of our own lives and the turbulent peaks and valleys fortune brings. While the pandemic at hand has presented many of us with such large-scale difficulty for the first time in our lives, individuals living in the Middle Ages were no strangers to trying times, and this is well-documented in primary source material. Manipulating every aspect of life and love, Goddess Fortuna has provided poet, composer, and artist alike with subject matter for ages. Fortune’s iconic wheel, lifting the fallen and casting down the mighty based on nothing but an ever-changing whim, is a familiar trope – no less relevant today than it was in the Middle Ages. Fortuna Antiqua et Ultra centers around texts that depict struggle, coping, and resilience during life’s trying times viewed through a medieval lens.
Founded in 2012, Concordian Dawn specializes in 12th- through 14th-century vocal repertoire, drawing on primary source material and focusing on socio-philosophical similarities between texts from centuries ago and the mindset of modern society. In so doing, the ensemble produces a musical experience accessible to contemporary audiences, relating the human condition of the past to the familiar experiences of the present. Concordian Dawn performs regularly on the east coast, and has performed annually with the Gotham Early Music Scene in New York. The ensemble, which received a 2020 Ensemble Forward Award from Chamber Music America, and its director, Christopher Preston Thompson, have performed and led workshops and lectures for Princeton University, New York University, the University of Pennsylvania, the Modern Language Association, the CUNY Graduate Center and the Medieval Academy of America, among others.
[ www.concordiandawn.com ]
PROGRAMAnonymous (13th c.), F-Pn fr. 844, 104v
La Septime Estampie Real
Philippe de Vitry (1291-1361), F-Pn fr. 146, 41v-42r
Tribum que / Quoniam secta / Merito hec patimur (Le Roman de Fauvel)
Anonymous (13th c.), Carmina Burana MS 14 and I-Fl Plut. 29.1, 351v
O varium fortune lubricum
Blondel de Nesles (trouvère, c. 1155-1202), F-Pn fr. 846, 79r
L’amour dont sui espris
Anonymous (13th c.), Carmina Burana MS 12 and I-Fl Plut 29.1, 226r-v
Guillaume de Machaut (1300-77), F-Pn Machaut MS C 1586, 57r
Dame, mon cuer en vous remaint (Le Remède de Fortune)
Anonymous (14th c.), I-Tn J.II.9, 111
Qui de Fortune atende asses avoir
Gaucelm Faidit (troubadour, c. 1155-1205), F-Pn fr. 844, 200r
Jamais rien tal non porroit far amor
Audefroi le Bastart (trouvère, fl. early 13th c.), F-Pn fr. 846, 55v-56r
Fine amours en Esperance
Anonymous (14th c.), F-Pn fr. 146, 30r
Heu, Fortuna subdola / Aman novi probatur / Heu me (Le Roman de Fauvel)
Guillaume DuFay (1397-1474), I-Fr Ms. 2794, 17v-18r
De ma haulte et bonne aventure
Adam de la Halle (trouvère, c. 1220-88), F-Pn fr. 846, 66v-67r
Je n’ai autre retenance
Anonymous (12th c.), St. Martial MS D24
De monte lapis
Anonymous (13th c.), I-Fl Plut. 29.1, 411v
Hypocritae, pseudopontifices / Velut stellae firmament / Et gaudebit
Anonymous (14th c.), F-Pn fr. 146, 32r
Thalamus puerpere / Quomodo cantabimus (Le Roman de Fauvel)
Guillaume de Machaut, F-Pn Machaut MS C 1586, 47v-48r
Dame, de qui toute ma joye vient (Le Remède de Fortune)
Gace Brulé (trouvère, c. 1160-1213), F-Pn fr. 846, 108v
Quant voi la flour boutener
Recorded June-September 2021 at the First Presbyterian Church of Mt. Kisco, New York. A Candlewood Digital high resolution "Natural Presence" recording: Produced, engineered, edited and mastered by Richard Price.