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Dante And The Troubadours / Sequentia


Release Date: 11/29/2012 
Label:  Deutsche Harmonia Mundi   Catalog #: 77227   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Arnaut DanielGiraut de BornelhAimeric de PeguilhanFolquet de Marseille,   ... 
Performer:  Barbara ThorntonBenjamin BagbyElizabeth GaverElisabetta de' Mircovich
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sequentia
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 17 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

At first it may seem odd that Dante’s name is associated with a musical recording; he was after all a great poet not a composer of music. However there is indeed a reason that Sequentia selected his name to associate this collection of medieval songs, written in Old Occitan (one of the languages of Medieval France) 50-150 years before he was even born. Dante selected these men, and indeed these particular works, as outstanding examples of non-Latin poetry in his own work De Vulgari Eloquentia, and it is largely through his work that these pieces have survived.

The music is thus performed in what is considered today to be the style of the originals. As we have no sound recordings or extant period instruments, and even have
Read more difficulty attaching rhythm to the notated music, this is obviously a best-guess based on what is known from art and textual descriptions. Therefore the musical interpretation, in comparison to the original, is obviously somewhat approximate. This has the advantage of allowing the performers to satisfy their own ears and make truly beautiful music without fear of having historians or those more interested in authenticity than music try to "correct" them. That is not to say that there are not experts in the reinvigoration of these ancient melodies, among which Sequentia ranks alongside groups such as the Chieftains. Their result on this album is an unqualified success. This is an album filled with very pretty melodies hearkening to a long past era quite unlike most music one would hear today, yet familiar enough to draw the listener into the musical experience.

Many of the works are a cappella, performed by a single soloist and accentuated only by the acoustic reverb of the Medieval Abbey which housed these recordings. There is one instrumental piece, apparently improvised around the melodies of Folquet de Marseilla (ca. 1155-1231) by the three instrumentalists. The remaining pieces are accompanied by one or two "fiddles" and/or harp. The song form employed is timeless, and although these songs were composed 800 years ago, they will seem familiar to a modern ear. The rhythms may well remind one of Irish folk music, perhaps with a more intricate, layered metric form.

There are times when the composer may have become a bit long-winded, as many of these songs do stretch beyond ten minutes in length. Although the poetic form employed allows for a substantive variety intrinsic to a single verse, actively listening to each individual song does occasionally become difficult. On the other hand, it is evident that the original composers of these pieces did intend for these works to go on at length, as they tell stories of courtly love, angst, and the beauty of life itself. Editing of these texts would have been difficult to justify, and on the whole the length does not produce tedium, but merely induces a more passive, relaxed enjoyment of the music.

It would be difficult not to consider this to be a very good album of very early music, as it has much to recommend it highly. It should appeal broadly as incidental background music when one wants something not distracting, yet distinctive. Its other audience will be fans of Renaissance or Medieval music or those who enjoy traditional folk material.

-- Patrick Gary, MusicWeb International Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Lo ferm voler by Arnaut Daniel
Performer:  Barbara Thornton (Voice), Benjamin Bagby (Voice)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sequentia
Period: Medieval 
Written: 12th Century; France 
Date of Recording: 12/1993 
Language: French 
2.
Non posc sofrir qu'a la dolor by Giraut de Bornelh
Performer:  Benjamin Bagby (Voice), Elizabeth Gaver (Fiddle), Barbara Thornton (Voice)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sequentia
Period: Medieval 
Date of Recording: 12/1993 
Language: French 
3.
En Amor trop alques en que m refraing by Aimeric de Peguilhan
Performer:  Barbara Thornton (Voice), Elizabeth Gaver (Fiddle), Benjamin Bagby (Voice),
Benjamin Bagby (Harp), Elisabetta de' Mircovich (Fiddle)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sequentia
Period: Medieval 
Date of Recording: 12/1993 
Language: French 
4.
Tan m'abelis l'amoros pensamens by Folquet de Marseille
Performer:  Benjamin Bagby (Harp), Benjamin Bagby (Voice)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sequentia
Period: Medieval 
Written: by 1185; France 
Language: French 
5.
Rassa, tan creis e mon' e poja by Bertran de Born
Performer:  Elisabetta de' Mircovich (Fiddle), Elizabeth Gaver (Fiddle), Benjamin Bagby (Harp),
Benjamin Bagby (Voice), Barbara Thornton (Voice)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sequentia
Period: Medieval 
Written: France 
Date of Recording: 12/1993 
Language: French 
6.
Dejosta'ls breus jorns e'ls loncs sers by Peire d'Alvernhe
Performer:  Barbara Thornton (Voice), Benjamin Bagby (Voice)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sequentia
Period: Medieval 
Date of Recording: 12/1993 
Language: French 
7.
Chanson do.ill mot son plan e prim by Arnaut Daniel
Performer:  Elizabeth Gaver (Fiddle), Barbara Thornton (Voice), Benjamin Bagby (Voice),
Benjamin Bagby (Harp), Elisabetta de' Mircovich (Fiddle)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sequentia
Period: Medieval 
Written: 12th Century 
Date of Recording: 12/1993 
Language: French 

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