From Byzantium To Andalusia

From Byzantium To Andalusia

Music CD - 2006 | Multiple languages
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Publisher: [S.l.] : Naxos, p2006.
Branch Call Number: C
Characteristics: 1 sound disc : digital ; 4 3/4 in.

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scribby
Aug 31, 2017

There used to be a concept, espoused by groups such as the Clemencic Consort, that Medieval music should sound rough and “primitive” (it is “Medieval”, after all). More recently, groups like Anonymous 4 have recorded such music with a beautiful, ethereal quality (it is spiritual, after all). This CD is somewhere between those two extremes. The voices are more often “Middle Eastern” than “European” in style, though probably the two had not diverged by this time; more to the point, the voices are also sometimes rough and scratchy – a sort-of early rock and roll. There are even hints of the vocal pyrotechnics that characterize Persian classical music. The instrumental playing is particularly beautiful, and includes some possibly improvised solo passages – the ensemble has succeeded in making this a “living” (as opposed to merely ancient) music. Europe and the Middle East mix freely: recorders, lutes, and harps mingle with oud and frame drums. Near the end, an hourglass-drum solo leads to a beautiful passage on recorders and harp which is suddenly recognizable as a familiar tune from the Llibre Vermell – one of the most often-recorded Medieval music manuscripts. There’s an encore that mixes at least three vocal styles. I’d recommend listening to this, for anyone who is interested in Early Music, or the earlier stages of both European and Islamic classical music (in both cases, before it really was “classical”). Or, I’d just recommend it because it’s fun to listen to.

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