The angels on the Ghent Altarpiece (Van Eyck) are singing plainchant and/or polyphony. If it is plainchant, they could be responses from the period after Easter. These responses make explicit references to the book of Revelations - which makes sense because the Ghent Alterpiece is full of references to the Apocalypse. The combination of these chants with two-voices Agnus-Dei fragments from masses by Dufay, Ockeghem, Desprez and others, make for a series of small and beautiful vignettes. Triptychs.
Have you ever seen any beguines? We haven’t either. Those devout laywomen of centuries past are no more. But would you like to hear them sing? That is possible. The Beghinae of Psallentes sing works from manuscripts found in the beguinages of Bruges, Antwerp and Amsterdam, among others. Beguines? They appear before your very eyes.
Masaaki Suzuki was an organist before he was a conductor, and his recordings of Bach's organ works have made a delightful coda to his magisterial survey of Bach cantatas with his Bach Collegium Japan. This selection, the second in a series appearing on the BIS label, gives a good idea of the gems available. You get a good mix of pieces, including a pair of Bach's Vivaldi transcriptions. Fans of Suzuki's cantata series will be pleased to note the similarities in his style between his conducting and his organ playing: there's a certain precise yet deliberate and lush quality common to both. And he has a real co-star here: the organ of the Kobe Shoin Women's University Chapel, built in 1983 by French maker Marc Garnier. The realizations of Bach's transcriptions of Vivaldi concertos fare especially well here, with a panoply of subtle colors in the organ. Sample the first movement of the Concerto in D minor, BWV 596, with its mellow yet transcendently mysterious tones in the string ripieni. BIS backs Suzuki up with marvelously clear engineering in the small Japanese chapel, and all in all, this is a Bach organ recording that stands out from the crowd. Highly recommended.