Lionheart's programme here consists of organum, motets and conductus associated with the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris around 1200. Léonin and his successor Pérotin, the two musical giants of this time and place, may or may not be behind some of the music - Though there are one or two relatively 'upbeat' moments, as with 'Veris ad imperia' and 'Mors vite propitia', the music itself is, not unexpectedly, serene and reflective, even and slow-paced - a CD to listen to for mental relaxation or spiritual or metaphysical rumination, in other words.
Lionheart's six male voices make a fine a cappella ensemble, with attentive articulation, clarity of tone, and above all a splendid team ethic - doubtless born of many years of practice, touring and recording together - providing an appealing vocal blend and blue-ribbon rhythmic awareness. Latin purists need not get excited, though: Lionheart's vowel lengths and consonant articulations are all determinedly Church Latin.
The CD booklet is neat and informative, with a slightly pleonastic contextualising essay from Lionheart Jeffrey Johnson and better-written notes on the tracks incorporating an explanation of plainchant-related terminology by another Lionheart, Richard Porterfield. Full Latin texts are thoughtfully provided by Nimbus, with English translations by Porterfield.