I'm still rather new to Dufay and just about any pre-Baroque composer, yet I can't help but feel compelled to share these fancies. Harmonia Mundi herein culls together thirteen compositions from the beginning of Dufay's career, toward the end of the Medieval period. These polyphonic pieces are the perfect Sunday morning comedown; as the sun peaks through the blinds, I can't think of a better compilation to wake me, cleansing me of weekend night sins (yeah, I attend church at my own apartment--suck it latter-day saints).
More than just a documentation of Guillaume Dufay's early period, these compositions are all of the isorhythmic motet style--some of the last, famous Medieval (early Renaissance) iteration of this form. The style is traditionally viewed as a very rigid one for its period, almost scientific. In the isorhythmic setting, a single parameter is chosen and is developed almost arithmetically. A single voice, denoted as the tenor, carries this progression, with the other voices following--in these thirteen compositions, the tenor is the instrumentation. Although that sounds emotionless, more akin to the construction of a mathematical sequence, the Huelgas Ensemble and Paul Van Nevel avoid miring in this technicality, providing spiritual, affirmative renditions. (hear)