Guillaume de Machaut: Motets
The Hilliard Ensemble : discography

ECM New Series 1823

Playing time: 62'36

Recorded November 2001
Propstei St. Gerold


Guillaume de Machaut: Motets

The Hilliard Ensemble


 1.  De souspirant cuer M2 [3:37] 
 2.  Fine Amour, qui me vint navrer M3 [2:40] 
 3.  Puis que la douce rousée M4 [3:58] 
 4.  Qui plus aimme M5 [3:47] 
 5.  Lasse! je sui en aventure M7 [4:22] 
 6.  Ha! Fortune M8 [2:38] 
 7.  O livoris feritas M9 [3:17] 
 8.  Helas! où sera pris confors M10 [2:25] 
 9.  Fins cuers dous M11 [3:16] 
 10.  Eins que ma dame d’onnour M13 [2:55] 
 11.  Faus Samblant m’a deceü M15 [3:23] 
 12.  Se j’aim mon loyal ami M16 [3:51] 
 13.  Bone pastor M18 [3:15] 
 14.  Diligenter inquiramus M19 [3:41] 
 15.  Biauté parée de valour M20 [2:23] 
 16.  Veni creator spiritus M21 [5:00] 
 17.  Plange, regni respublica M22 [3:31] 
 18.  Inviolata genitrix M23 [4:26] 


David James, countertenor
David Gould, counterternor
Rogers Covey-Crump, tenor
Steven Harrold, tenor
Gordon Jones, baritone


The release of their recording of Guillaume de Machaut marks the 30th anniversary of the Hilliard Ensemble.
Music of Guillaume de Machaut (ca. 1300-1377) has been in the Hilliard’s repertoire for decades, and in the 1980s the group recorded his Messe de Notre Dame for Hyperion, in a version deemed definitive by many critics. The current recording of the Machaut Motets is based upon a new edition prepared by long-time Hilliard Ensemble associate and musicologist Nicky Losseff. In her detailed liner note she describes the Motets as “replete with hidden meanings, multiple commentaries and complex musical procedures…Yet it is Machaut’s ability to pierce the heart, not his cleverness, that can overwhelm the listener on an emotional level.”


This is a landmark recording and a courageous venture. It is probably the first devoted to Machaut’s motets, containing no fewer than 18 of the 23 that survive. It is certainly the first to present them in the order in which Machaut himself presented them in his own manuscripts. And the performances are of a truly mandarin refinement. Here are The Hilliard Ensemble with goodness knows how many combined years of experience performing this kind of music in public; they are not just on the top of their form but also constantly showing the fruits of that experience.
David Fallows, Gramophone

If I tell you that my favourite disc of recent months contains over an hour’s worth of three-minute bursts of the same kind of music, seven centuries old and built on principles in no way related to anything else in our repertory experience, you may want to change stations…but wait! Know first that the disc is on ECM, one of the more trustworthy of surviving classical labels, and that the performers are the Hilliard Ensemble, that lively and questing group – countertenors, tenors, baritone – whose lust for stylistic exploration is apparently boundless. here they sing a collection of motets by the fourteenth-century poet, philosopher, musician and churchman Guillaume de Machaut, music whose strange, distant beauty is much enhanced by the typical ECM treatment. … We cannot, of course, hear this music with fourteenth-century ears, but the weight of history can be a marvellous enablement for discovering a whole new level of freshness in this music. Is it so wrong to hear Arvo Pärt or Bartók or Charles Ives in the cross-references and false cadences in Machaut? It would be equally wrong to hear this music as any kind of primitive, to miss the high level of poetic daring in the textual or musical crossovers, the sheer beauty in the sinuous melodic lines. This is a hypnotic, stupendous disc.
Alan Rich, LA Weekly