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The Boston Globe

Music

Music Review

Camerata conjures the medieval technicolor of Machaut

CAMBRIDGE — Two years ago, when the French city of Reims was toasting the 800th anniversary of its legendary cathedral, the Boston Camerata received a high honor for any out-of-town ensemble: an invitation to participate in the festivities. And not only to participate, but to present the music of the magnificent 14th-century poet and composer Guillaume de Machaut, who was employed as a canon at the great Cathedral of Reims.

For the occasion, Camerata artistic director Anne Azema bravely took aim at Machaut’s single most celebrated work today: his “Messe de Notre Dame,” a work that owes its renown not only to its remarkable sonorities but also to its status as the very first polyphonic setting of the Mass Ordinary to be written by a single composer.

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