Busnois: Missa O Crux lignum
This is music devoid of clutter, music from another time and place. Fifteenth-century composer Antoine Busnois has been the center of scholarly attention for the last 15 years. A master who foreshadows the innovations of the great Josquin Desprez, Busnois was a chaplain in Tours, France. He was excommunicated for beating up another priest five times but was pardoned by Pope Pius II. Later, over the objections of the canons, he was hired as music master at the Church of St. Martin of Tours. This new release by the superb Orlando Consort features a selection of sacred motets, secular chansons, a hymn and the complete “Missa O Crux lignum.” The serene music is indebted to the melodic legacy of Gregorian chants, yet it’s also rich with polyphonic counterpoints and unexpected twists. The CD art is also beautiful.