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Rosa e Orticha - Music of the Trecento / Danilevski, Ensemble Syntagma

Da Padova / Ensemble Syntagma / Irisawa
Release Date: 11/15/2011 
Label:  Carpe Diem   Catalog #: 16287   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Egidius de FranciaAndreas Horganista de FlorentinaBartolino da PadovaFrancesco Landini,   ... 
Performer:  Atsushi Moriya
Conductor:  Alexandre Danilevski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Syntagma
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



ROSA E ORTICHA: Music of the Trecento Alexandre Danilevski, cond; Syntagma Ens CARPE DIEM 16287 (60:00 Text and Translation)


Music by FRANCIA, FLORENTIA, PADOVA, LANDINI, STEFANI, ANONYMOUS, FLORENTIA, FIRENZE


This album presents secular music mainly drawn from Southern Italy, composed during the last half of the 14th century: the Trecento, when Italian polyphony flourished, only to vanish soon after for reasons that Read more musicologists still speculate upon. Much of their work took the forms of the madrigal, the caccia (canon in two upper parts, counterpoint in a third), and especially the less complex ballata . One of the best-organized musical manuscripts of the period, the Squarcialupi Codex (so named after an inscription on its first folio: “This book is owned by Antonio di Bartolomeo Squarcialupi, organist of Santa Maria del Fiore”) has more than 350 of these pieces preserved in excellent condition. Though the Syntagma Ensemble doesn’t list its sources, internal evidence suggests they made good use of the codex.


There are some monophonic selections, usually dances, included as well. A mix of polyphonic and monophonic material— Landini’s eloquent two-part Somma felicità , Gherardello de Firenze’s monophonic Donna, l’altrui mirar , etc—are offered in instrumental and part-instrumental versions whose arrangers aren’t identified. Presumably they are among the group’s musicians. There’s certainly nothing wrong with this, not at a time when both fixed content and textures were unknown. It’s to the credit of Syntagma that their instrumental choices are sensitively made, and the percussion, which is never written out, ends up being added discreetly.


The performances are excellent. Syntagma is a group of 14 musicians of whom nine are employed on this disc, led by Alexandre Danilevski. Two sopranos and a countertenor (so described; he sounds more like a tenor) provide the vocals, while the rest perform on medieval fiddle, lute, harp, recorder, carillon, checker, and percussion. All are technically expert, exhibiting none of the sloppy breathing and fingering that in a few circles continues to pass for authenticity. Ornamentation is scarce but appropriate, given the element of common improvisation known to have existed in contemporary Florentine culture.


I do take some exception to the engineering on this release, however. The album has that Early Music Church sound, with a very slow decay rate and a resultant boost to low frequencies. This makes some sense for Mass movements and motets, but none at all for secular material that never would have been performed in a sacred space. On a purely aesthetic level it inflates the singers’ voices, making them seem larger and darker than they are, and thickens some textures. I hasten to add that I’ve heard far worse examples of this practice, but I find the distortion moderately disturbing.


It’s not enough to negate my delight in these performances, though, or in the expressive lyricism of works like Cosa Crudel , and the brightly stepping Con tutta gentilezza , with its hints of Flemish influence. Strongly recommended.


FANFARE: Barry Brenesal
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Works on This Recording

1.
Donna s'amor by Egidius de Francia
Conductor:  Alexandre Danilevski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Syntagma
2.
Cosa crudel m'ancide by Andreas Horganista de Florentina
Conductor:  Alexandre Danilevski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Syntagma
3.
El no me giova by Bartolino da Padova
Conductor:  Alexandre Danilevski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Syntagma
4.
Somma felicita by Francesco Landini
Conductor:  Alexandre Danilevski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Syntagma
5.
Con tutta gentilezza by Giovanni Stefani
Conductor:  Alexandre Danilevski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Syntagma
6.
I bei sembianti by Bartolino da Padova
Conductor:  Alexandre Danilevski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Syntagma
7.
Interlude (Improvisation) by Atsushi Moriya
Performer:  Atsushi Moriya (Recorder)
8.
Nel mio bel orto by Anonymous
Conductor:  Alexandre Danilevski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Syntagma
9.
Lauda by Anonymous
Conductor:  Alexandre Danilevski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Syntagma
10.
La douce çere by Bartolino da Padova
Conductor:  Alexandre Danilevski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Syntagma
Period: Medieval 
Written: 14th Century; Italy 
11.
Interlude by Anonymous
Conductor:  Alexandre Danilevski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Syntagma
12.
Alba colomba by Bartolino da Padova
Conductor:  Alexandre Danilevski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Syntagma
Period: Medieval 
Written: Italy 
13.
Passando in ombra by Anonymous
Conductor:  Alexandre Danilevski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Syntagma
14.
Amor, da po' che tu ti maravigli by Paolo da Firenze
Conductor:  Alexandre Danilevski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Syntagma
15.
Donna, l'altrui mirar che fate by Gherardello da Firenze
Conductor:  Alexandre Danilevski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Syntagma
Period: Medieval 
16.
Donna s'amor by Egidius de Francia
Conductor:  Alexandre Danilevski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Syntagma

Sound Samples

Donna s'amor
Cosa crudel m'ancide
El no me giova
Somma felicita
Con tutta gentilezza
I bei sembianti
Interlude [CD-16287]: Interlude
Nel mio bel orto
Lauda [CD-16287]: Lauda
La douce cere
Interlude [Codex Faenza]
Alba colomba
Passando in ombra
Amor, da po' che tu ti maravigli
Donna, l'altrui mirar
Donna s'amor

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