Notes and Editorial Reviews
Here the Finnish ensemble Oliphant devotes a program to Gace Brulé, one of the most highly esteemed trouvères (medieval poet/musicians who flourished in the north of France) of his day. Like nearly all trouvères during this period, Brulé entertained at various courts, writing verse and composing songs strictly about secular love. More often than not Brulé wantonly celebrates it--such as in soprano Uli Korhonen's lovely a cappella "Fine Amours est de tel Force Establie" (The Power of Noble Love is so Great). More atypical (and fascinating) is the program's centerpiece, "L'Autrier Estoie en un Vergier" (One Day in a Garden), where the complexity of the subject becomes more ambiguous. Told
in a third-person account, we eavesdrop on a lively argument between two women where one must choose between the virtuous love of a noble yet financially unstable knight and the less than honourable attentions of a wealthier "dastardly suitor". The other woman vehemently yet unsuccessfully tries to convince her to go for the money, and just before violence ensues Brulé himself enters the scene, and after separating the two women concludes he made a "stupid" move and should have let them "scratch each other's eyes out" after all. Oliphant's spirited performance plays up all the action before concluding with a well-deserved round of laughter.
Oliphant also complements the variety of Brulé's texts with equally diverse and thoughtful instrumental arrangements. The predominant double skin drum in "Ahi, Amours, con savez sagement" (Oh Love, How Well You Know) boldly reinforces this dramatic confessional, and the subtler balance of percussion and winds featured in "Li pluser ont d'Amours chante" (Most Sing of Love) equally helps to illustrate the characters' whimsical determination. Alba's sound is very good, with superb balances among all members of the group. This splendid recital surely will delight listeners interested in secular fare of this period.
--John Greene, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Work(s) by Gace Brulé
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