Perotinus Magnus / Guillaume de Machaut – Graduale Sederunt principes / Messe Nostre Dame zu vier Stimmen

What would have happened if the Rolling Stones would have called their famous album Beggar’s Banquet Sympathy for the devil – No expectations – Dear doctor – Parachute woman – Jigsaw puzzle – Street fighting man – Prodigal son – Stray cat blues – Factory girl – Salt of the earth? Would we still know it, or would it go in history as the album with the most awkward name? This is what usually happens to classical music albums.

If you take a look at the cover of this album, you have no idea what the title is. The names of the composers are most prominent, so is that the title? Then why the texts on top? Wouldn’t it make more sense to call it after the major work?

In recent times you start seeing more and more album titles where the artist(s) have tried to find a common theme. Why are we combining these works, and can we then give that connection a name? I’m not arguing to do that for every album. If you publish a performance of the 9th symphony of Beethoven it is perfectly okay to call it that.

But on this album, it seems clear to me that the Deller Consort wanted to shine a light on the connection between the two most powerful cathedrals in medieval France: those of Paris and of Reims. So why not create a name that does that as well?

Surely musicians are nerds. They are not interested in marketing, so they don’t care about the name. They care about what they do. In the case of this album, they kind of tried it in another version. If you take a look at the Spotify link, you’ll see a better title: Music in Reims cathedral and in Notre Dame in Paris. Not exactly the same album, but it shows it would be possible.

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