Sarah McMahon Music Historiography Dr.

Hung 2/27/12

Machaut Mass Kyrie Recordings Each recording of the Kyrie was very different. The first recording, done by Peres was not my favorite but I did enjoy some aspects of it. I think it is interesting that the sound is so forward in each person’s voice. I think Peres did this because he felt that the music should be performed with musical influences from the countries around where these chants originated. Peres says “These singers use to have a very strong and deep bass voice, and their chant was highly ornamented, just the contrary of what we’re use to now.” (Marcel, Peres. "A Different Sense of Time." P: 28). I found the Peres sound to be a bit brutal on my own eardrums and something that I could not listen to for long periods of time. However, I did enjoy the fluidity of each section of the Kyrie. Peres keeps the notes flowing with embellishments that each musician puts in on their own. I think that the flow of the sound is a good thing to have for this kind of chant. The Dominique Vellard recording was probably my favorite of the four pieces. The sound, though maybe not something Peres likes, is much more welcoming to listen to. I also like that there is a female who is singing the top line of this piece. I think that women should be allowed to sing chants because back in the times that these chants were originally performed women if there was not a boy soprano. I also highly enjoy the fact that between each piece in this recording, like between the Kyrie and the Gloria, there Is no clapping by the audience. I think that that is appropriate for this type of chant because back when this chant was performed people would not have clapped as though the people chanting were performing for them. The original purpose of these chants was for worship and I think that the spiritual aspect of the piece should be kept in intact. The Andrew Parrott was going to be my favorite recording until I heard the choppiness of the line. I love the sound because its in-between the first two recordings, it is much more forward than the Vellard recording but isn’t as hard on your ears as the Peres recording. The biggest thing that I didn’t like was the choppiness of the lines in this recording. I hated that during each section of the chant with four parts the singers would hold their sound and then let it burst out with an accent. I think that I personally like to hear chant with fluidity. Though I hated the parts of the chant with parts, I really enjoyed the way that this group performed the unison chant. This group had a line to the chant. I think that having a swell in the unison chant line is interesting and appropriate to perform because it keeps the listener in tune with the piece. Alfred Deller’s recording was not my favorite. It had the choppiness of the line as well as a sound that was not pleasant to my ears. I think that the female in this group should have tried to use a bit less vibrato than she was using because she sticks out from the other voices and the straight sounding brass. I also hate the instruments in this recording. I feel that the horns pull down the pure sound of human voices. Especially the French horn, it sound extremely flat next to the other

people singing, but I think that is purely because of the voice that they chose. This recording was probably me least favorite out of all of the four recordings. If I were to direct a performance of the Kyrie I would use elements from each recording. I would take the semi forward sound from the Andrew Parrott recording, but I would make sure that each performer would be fluid in their line. I would defiantly make sure that there would be no clapping between each section of this mass. I would not mind doing some embellishments in the piece like Peres. But I would make absolutely sure that my group would not put too much distracting vibrato into the sound. I also would not use instruments. I personally like the pure voice compared to having instruments in the mass. I think the instrument would not have been used in the mass at the time and that the instruments muddle the sound too much to use.

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