Notes and Editorial Reviews
Surely, no map could chart the fantastic voyage presented in this release. For while this odyssey takes us around a large part of the globe, via the music of Ireland and the British Isles, Germany, France, Spain and Italy, North Africa, Turkey, the Balkans, and Asia, it is largely an imaginary voyage, an interior journey made by the performers, inspired by their travel experiences and their passion for a geographical or temporal ‘elsewhere’. Music has the power of transporting us, in both senses; it can open the ear – and the mind – to other worlds, other cultures and customs; and it can exhilarate and transcend the senses. Here are recordings by iconic artists of the Alpha label such as le Poème Harmonique, Les Musiciens de Saint-Julien, and Cappella Mediterranea – all represented in this release.
Excerpts of select reviews of previously released volumes included in this set:
Aux Marches du Palais / Le Poème Harmonique
The infectious La molièra qu’a nau escus, the rhythmic zest and mellow harmonies of the largely homophonic Le 31 du mois d’août, the pastoral delicacy of Réveillez-vous, belle endormie, are only a few of the standouts that required frequent use of the repeat button on my CD player. As for the 11 musicians who make up Le Poème Harmonique, they are vastly skilled, rhythmically disciplined, and theatrically vivid where required, as in the galvanizing a capella tarantelle, Sarremilhòque. (The music may be from France, but various patois are employed, as well.) This group is far from the “churchly” type that usually brings great delicacy and little passion to such music. One hopes we’ll hear more from them in the future.