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Absent from dictionaries and encyclopedias alike, Guillaume Bouzignac (ca. 1587 – after 1643) still today remains mysterious. Musicological research on his life and work remains suffused with approximation, and it is with the sentiment of confronting a veritable enigma that musicologists have examined a composer whose work was recognized in his time. It is in the field of the motet, the song and the mass that Bouzignac made his mark with originality and a distinctive style. In the twenty Latin motets recorded here, the French composer abandons the bass continuo for a fragmented “dramatism.” Originally from Languedoc, he started his career at the cathedral choral school, where, as Gregor Hermann notes, “the cultural musical center of the town proposed to a dozen young boys, who had a good voice, lessons in reading and writing Latin, and singing Gregorian chorals and the multi-voiced polyphonic repertory.” The Saxe vocal ensemble, founded in 1996, under the direction of Matthias Jung, possesses astounding vocal tone. The grace it displays throughout these motets, amidst the most exemplary sense of balance, reinforces the evocative power of the singing. The clarity of articulation is also to be applauded. But, what makes this recording essential is the omnipresent emotion these choral pieces radiate. Gripping throughout, they are also a pleasure to hear. Now is the time, listening to this SACD superbly recorded in stereo and in surround, to discover a captivating composer who will haunt one’s memory for a long time to come.

Jean-Jacques Millo - Translation: Lawrence Schulman

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