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Directed by Christopher Page
This Gothic Voices offering covers most of the material found in a songbook (a manuscript collection of favoured songs) dating from around AD 1200. It was only rediscovered by chance, the original manuscript having been disassembled for use as flyleaves for another book. Precious little information is given in the sleeve note about the circumstances of that rediscovery, which is a shame, and we read that it can only be guessed that the songbook had its origins within some kind of religious foundation. Just over half the songs are monophonic and most relate to Christian feasts, especially Christmas. But as in many such collections from across the centuries, the fun comes in discovering the more eclectic choices of music for inclusion. Here, for example, there are songs bewailing the sale of ecclesiastical offices, the need to use flattery to get on in life and the prevalence of greed and disrespect for the law, plus a marvellous love song featuring a young man's agonising choice between the charms of 'little Flora' and his studies. The tasteful, sensitive Gothic Voices performances are everything we have come to expect.