Texte paru dans: / Appeared in:
Fanfare Magazine: 39:3 (11-22/2016) 
Pour s'abonner / Subscription information
Les abonnés à Fanfare Magazine ont accès aux archives du magazine sur internet.
Subscribers to Fanfare Magazine have access to the archives of the magazine on the net.


Code-barres / Barcode : 8436001539713

"Recommended both for the music and the musicians."

Outil de traduction ~ (Très approximatif)
Translator tool (Very approximate)

Reviewer: Barry Brenesal

This unassuming album, with its cover photo of jellyfish, and its liner notes that open by assuring us there’s no way we can approach this music without the mindset of modern culture—doesn’t begin to hint at the pleasures it unfolds. The program mixes 11 16th-century solo arrangements of songs and three- and four-voice madrigals, with other pieces more closely resembling the proto-sonatas evolved in the northern Italian States. They’re interspersed with four short virtuosic organ toccatas, featuring composers active in the same are at roughly the same time. The result is a concert that emphasizes the role of diminution in both improvised performance and subsequent transcription.

Diminuation also applies to the term viola bastarda. The latter refers both to the small bass viol that developed in Italy around the time, and also to the extremely agile style of composition it used to play polyphonic works with a heavy employment of divisions. Several instruments—and the human voice—performed in this manner, too, as described in Francesco Rognoni’s 1620 tract, Selva de varii passaggi, though a certain prominence was given by the author to string instruments. (Rognoni was a noted violinist, and his father, Riccardo, was the first writer we know of to mention the violin—characteristically, in a treatise he had written on the practice of improvised diminution.) Of particular interest are two variation sets on da Rore’s Ancor che col partire and Paletrina’s Vestiva i colli each, which allow for comparison between very different treatments.

Thor Jorgen is a Mexican-born cellist and gambist. He is also one half of Divina Mysteria, along with violinist Pavel Amilcar. On this disc Amilcar only plays on two cuts, while the burden of accompaniment and the occasional solo are given to organist Andrés Alberto Gomez. The organ never overwhelms the viol, and all three musicians demonstrate a supple approach to phrasing in the more rhapsodic, recitative-like sections of these works meant to show off tonal resources. All, too, are capable of rendering this music full due in its extremely rapid divisions demonstrating an agile technique, a few moments of uncertain intonation aside in Selma y Salaverde’s Susana paseggiata.

I do have one complaint, and it’s not about the performances or the sound (which is well balanced and close), but about the contents page’s poor editing. Some composers are listed with birth and death dates; others, of whom that information is also known, are not. A few selections list source dates and locations, if not source documents; the others list none. One piece includes a question mark in parentheses, without any indication whether that refers to its attribution, status as a complete work, or seemingly incomplete title. The liner notes refer to two included sets of divisions of Ancor che col partire, one each described in the liner notes as simple and one difficult, but both here are referred to as “difficult.” The first is clearly the easy one, and simply mislabeled.

That nuisance to one side, this is an attractive disc of seldom performed music from Northern Italy in the early 17th century, that has so far given us several records emphasizing both violins and brass, but little for the viol. Recommended both for the music and the musicians.



Cliquez l'un ou l'autre bouton pour découvrir bien d'autres critiques de CD
 Click either button for many other reviews