The Easter Sepulcher Drama originated in the 10th century, springing out of the practice of troping- the interpolation of dramatic non-biblical texts and freely composed music into the seasonal portions of the Mass. As troping became more and more complex, eventually involving a variety of ’characters’ complete with appropriate gestures and costumes, the miniature music-dramas moved outside of church walls and were performed in church courtyards and town squares. Eventually, local guilds began sponsoring performances and supplied the required actors, musicians and elaborate stage settings.
The incomplete Easter drama Ludus Paschalis comes from the Diocese of Tours, France. In the realization presented on this recording, early music historian Frederick Renz masterfully incorporates fragments from the Maastricht Easter Play, the Fleury Playbook, and a ’sister’ Ludus from the Convent of Origny-Sainte-Benoite to complete the Tours play. He also interpolates three conducti: Dulcis Jesu memoria, Victimae paschali laudes, and Pange melos lacrimosum, utilizing them as introductory or procession music. Members of Chanticler take up the roles of the three Marys, Jesus, Peter, Thomas and several other characters related to the Easter story. The entire music-drama is accompanied by the other-worldly sound of The Medieval Harp Choir Angelorum, directed by Cheryl Ann Fulton.
"There are not may other medieval Easter plays available on records... This creative reconstruction by Frederick Renz of the version from Tours is a very welcome addition to the dsicography of medieval liturgical drama... As expected, the singers of Chanticleer are up to dramatic presentations, thought the original choir boys are replaced by countertenors. the instrumental support by the Medieval Harp Choir Angelorum is quite subtle; and while there is some improvised polyphony, it is not overdone... it is wonderful to now have a complete and significant Easter Play."
Brewer - American Record Guide - March/April 2012