Sirinu – The Cradle Of The Renaissance (1995)

FrontCover1.jpgI guess, this is a real very special album:

Italian music from the time of Leonardo da Vinci – This recording of music from 15th century Italy features many lighter songs, with a predominance of instrumental work. The connection with Leonardo da Vinci is basically nominal. (medieval.org)

This is a magnificent disc of Renaissance instrumental music, songs and dances. Ensemble Sirinu is pure magic, really my only complaint is that they only have a few releases. (nocturna-artificialia.blogspot.com)

‘An excellent and hugely enjoyable recording’ (Early Music Review)

‘Sarah Stowe … is perfectly suited for this music. She has an astonishing capacity to alter the character of her voice, sounding on occasion sweet and pure, on others sexy and alluring, and sometimes even downright common, which really helps the text come alive. An excellent disc for newcomers to this sort of music, and for aficionados’ (Classic CD)

This music is heart-balm !

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Personnel:
Jon Banks (harp, sackbut, organ, viol, recorder, percussion, vocals)
Matthew Spring (lute, vocals, hurdy-gurdy, shawm, lira da braccio, viol, gittern)
Henry Stobart (recorder, bagpipes, vocals, viol, shawm, pipe, tabor)
Sara Stowe (soprano vocals, organ, recorder, percussion)

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Tracklist:
01. Uccelino, bel uccelino + Piva (unknown) 3.28
02. Non e tempo d’aspectare (Cara) 4.17
03. Cecus non iudicat de coloribus (Agricola) 4.45
04. Yerra con poco sabe (Cornago) 3.37
05. Scaramella / Io ne tengo (unknown) 2.40
06. O mia cieca e dura sorte (Cara) 9-09
07. Helas madame que feraige (Agricola) 2.06
08. Nam edunt de micis (unknown) 1.48
09. Ben venga maggio (unknown) 3.31
10. Io vegio la mia vita io finire (unknown) 1.27
11. Ricercare XV (Bossinensis) / Scopri, lingua (Tromboncino) 5.38
12. De dos la mer (unknown) 1.24
13. Gridan vostri ochi (Aquila) 3.11
14. Per la mya cara (unknown) 1.23
15. Aime sospiri (Giustinian) 1.41
16. La martinella (Isaac) 3.06
17. J’ay pris amours (unknown) 4.18
18. Canzon de’ pifari dico el Ferrarese (unknown) 1.22
19. Regina del cor mio (unknown) 1.33
20. Dunque piangiamo (Poliziano) 2.39
21. Udite selve / Villana (Poliziano) 4.36

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About the composers:
Alexander Agricola (?1446-1506)
Serafino de’ Ciminelli dall’ Aquila (1466-1500)
Franciscus Bossinensis (fl1510-1510)
Marchetto Cara (c. 1470-? 1525)
Johannes Cornago (fl c1455-1485)
Leonardo Giustinian (c1383-1446)
Heinrich Isaac (c1450-1517)
Angelo Poliziano (1454-1494)
Bartolomeo Tromboncino (c1470-1535)

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Review

Blackmore’s Night – Fires At Midnight (2001)

FrontCover1.jpgFires at Midnight is the third studio album by the group Blackmore’s Night, released July 10, 2001 through SPV/Steamhammer. In comparison to their previous two releases, there are more electric guitar parts on this album, whilst maintaining a folk rock direction. The album was a Top Ten record in Germany.

On December 2001, Fires At Midnight was a finalist on the New Age Voice award for the best vocal album of the year. In 2004 the album went Gold in the Czech Republic.

The album was one of the 10 international bestsellers in Russia during the Autumn of 2001. The single “Times They Are A Changin” stayed in the Russian top 20 Hits for over 9 weeks.

It featured the singles “The Times They Are a Changin'”, “Home Again” and “All Because of You”. (by wikipedia)

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One of hard rock’s most influential guitarists has opted for the cultural upheaval and regality of the Renaissance era, as Ritchie Blackmore and vocalist Candice Night spearhead a band who abides by a hearty cross-pollination of English folk, 16th century melodies, and progressive rock. Here, Blackmore injects tasteful electric lead lines into a mix consisting of buoyantly executed rhythmic structures and Ms. Knight’s whispery, and at times, satiny vocalizations. Thus, Blackmore’s Night proclaims a festive atmosphere throughout these 16 pieces, while the band’s charming rendition of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a Changin'” might represent the lone deviation from the grand scheme of things to coincide with this ensemble’s altogether cheery demeanor and novel approach. Moreover, for those expecting to hear Blackmore ravage his electric with his now-infamous high-octane, blues-drenched power chords and doomsday chops, forget it. With this release, subtly, finesse, and nuance reign supreme amid a series of persuasive works that cover quite a bit of fertile terrain. (by Glenn Astarita)

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Personnel:
Ritchie Blackmore (guitar, hurdy-gurdy, mandolin, renaissance drums, tambourine)
Robert “Sir Robert of Normandie” Curiano (bass, background vocals)
Chris Devine (violin, viola, recorders, flute)
Carmine Giglio (keyboards)
Candice Night (vocals, pennywhistle, shawms, harp, recorder, electronic bagpipes)
Pat Regan (keyboards)
Mike Sorrentino (drums)
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John Passanante (trombone)
Richard Wiederman (trumpet)
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Albert Dannemann (bagpipes on 11.)

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Tracklist:
01. Written In The Stars (Blackmore/Night) 4.47
02. The Times They Are A-Changin’ (Dylan) 3.33
03. I Still Remember (Traditional) 5.42
04. Home Again (Blackmore/Night) 5.28
05. Crowning Of The King (Traditional) 4.32
06. Fayre Thee Well (Blackmore)  2:05
07. Fires At Midnight (Traditional) 7.36
08. Hanging Tree (Blackmore/Night) 3.47
09. The Storm (Blackmore/Night) 6.12
10. Mid Winter’s Night (Traditional) 4.30
11. All Because Of You (Blackmore/Night) 3.37)
12. Waiting Just For You (Traditional) 3.17
13. Praetorius (Courante) (Praetorius) 1.57
14. Benzai-Ten (Blackmore/Night) 3.52
15. Sake Of Song (B-side to the European Single “The Times They Are a Changin’ ) (Blackmore/Night) 3.13
16. Village On The Sand (Blackmore/Night) 4.57
16. Again Someday (Blackmore/Night) 1.49

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Stanley Buetens Lute Ensemble – In A Medieval Garden (1967)

FrontCover1After more than a dozen years of success with folk-based indie label Elektra, which he started from his college dorm room, Jac Holzman established Nonesuch Records in 1964 with the goal of making classical recordings affordable and accessible. Nonesuch LP releases were priced at $2.50, half the cost of a typical classical release, comparable to that of a quality paperback book. The label’s first album was a French recording of Renaissance vocal music and it set the template for the first few dozen subsequent releases: quality European recordings licensed by Holzman at cut-rate prices, attractively packaged in the label’s house graphic style.

By the 1967 release of In a Medieval Garden by the Stanley Buetens Lute Ensemble, however,Splendor, In A Medieval Garden Nonesuch had begun picking up domestic talent and expanding their musical scope (including commissioning a groundbreaking electronic piece by composer Morton Subotnick, Silver Apples of the Moon, itself an excellent board game accompaniment). Buetens, a former New Yorker attending graduate school at Stanford University in Northern California, recorded just one LP for Nonesuch, but it’s an evocative delight. With the group’s focus on the lute, a stringed instrument descended from the Middle Eastern oud with some similarities to the later-to-come guitar, this gentle album effortlessly conjures up another era and milieu. Recorders and vocals offer up subtle melodies over instrumentally sparse but often rhythmically complex backings.

With its transporting qualities, this collection of early music makes an excellent complement to many tabletop games set in the Middle Ages or Renaissance. (by amoeba.com)

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Back in the day when we listened to our favorite music on LP’s and reel-to-reel tapes, I had this tape. It was one of my favorites and I played it ’til most of the magnetic coating was gone. Well, at least some of it. Twenty some years ago, I lost my capability to play back the r-t-r tapes. That was generally upsetting, but I could replace many of my treasures on CD, and I was glad to do so, thus all was not lost, except for this gem. What really hit me hard was I could no longer listen to my Medieval Garden tape. A few weeks ago, I learned the music from the original tape had become available for download. Even though I’m not one to keep music on my phone or computer, I downloaded it immediately. I’m thrilled with being able to listen to this music again. The fidelity is superb and I understand a CD may be forthcoming. I certainly hope it is. As with this download, it will delight the ears.

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If you know this tape (or maybe the LP) from years gone bye, this download will reach out and touch you just like it did back then. If you don’t know it, it will immediately transport you to a medieval garden in which troubadours, court musicians, courtly ladies and gentlemen while away sunny, autumn afternoon hours in playing and singing favorite poetry for their own enjoyment. Close your eyes and immediately, you’ll be there.

This album features American pioneer lutenist Stanley Buetens, with several other individuals singing and playing recorders, possibly krummhorns, viols, and perhaps other medieval/renaissance instruments. The quality of the recording is absolutely superb, with each individual instrument or voice clearly discernible and in exquisite balance with the rest of the group. (by Blacksheep)

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A wonderful collection! Though it is clear these recordings were made over decades, they feel extremely authentic. You definitely get your money’s worth. Highly recommended for lute and renaissance music fans. (by Sam Lowry)

Stan Buetens co-founded the Lute Society of America with Ken LaBarre, his student and collaborator on several lute works offered here. Stan was invited to teach the lute at Stanford University in 1966 and became president of the LSA in 1967. (by lutestuff.com)

Born and raised in New York City, he attended Queen’s College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in voice.

He served in the Army during the Korean War. In New York he worked as a musician, playing the lute, and as a music editor for films.

Mr. Buetens came West in 1966 to attend graduate school in music at Stanford University, and never left the area.

He continued his career performing and teaching lute, guitar and voice. He even wrote a method for the lute that was widely used throughout the world, family members say.

Stanley Buetens02.jpgMr. Buetens worked at various jobs, including as a music professor, music publisher, printer and paralegal. He thought of himself as a tinkerer and Renaissance man, the family says. He was always busy creating, in one way or the other, says his oldest child, Sophi Buetens of Oakland.

He had a love of classical music and opera, languages, gardening and science. He followed the news, loved to read and cook, and enjoyed watching football and tennis. He was always exceedingly proud of his children and never ceased encouraging them in their own pursuits, says Ms. Buetens.

His wife, Blair Scott Buetens, died in March.

Survivors include his four children, Sophi Buetens and Sara Buetens, both of Oakland; Raymond Buetens of Aptos; and Julian Buetens of New Mexico. Other survivors are his sister, Miriam Simpson of New York; brothers Bernard Buetens of New Jersey and Melvin Buetens of Florida; and five grandchildren. (by almanacnews.com)

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Personnel:
Martha Blackman (violin)
Roland Blow (recorder, crumhorn)
Stanley Buetens (lute, vocals)
Catherine Liddell (lute, percussion)
Linda Nied (recorder)
Lawrence Selman (violin, percussion)
Diane Tramontini (vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Ic Draghe De Mutse Clutse (Obrecht) 1.30
02. In Seculum Artifex (Anon. (13th Cent.) 1.11
03. Auf fief ein Hubsches Freuelein (Anon. (15th Cent.) 1.39
04. La Spagna (Anon. (15th Cent.) 2.05
05. Trotto (Anon. (13th Cent.) 1.07
06. Ave Verum Corpus (Anon. (13th Cent.) 1.38
07. La Spagna (II) (Capirola) 1.22
08. En Albion (Anon. (14th Cent.) 2.34
09. Ma Tredol Rosignol (Borlet) 1.42
10. In Seculum Viellatoris (Anon. (13th Cent.) 1.00
11. Die Katzenpfote (Anon. (15th Cent.) 1.42
12. Pour L’amour De Ma Doulce Amye (Dufay) 2.21
13. Basse Dance “Tous Mes Amys” (Traditional/Attaingnant) 1.05
14. Dale Si Le Das (Anon. (15th Cent.) 1.00
15. Adieu M’amour, Adieu Ma Joie (Dufay) 3.28

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1931 – 2009

 

Giles Farnaby’s Dream Band – Same (1973)

FrontCover1Giles Farnaby’s Dream Band was a collaboration between the early music ensemble St. George’s Canzona, Derby-based folk group The Druids, and Trevor Crozier’s ‘Broken Consort’. They were backed by three jazz musicians: Jeff Clyne (bass guitar), Dave MacRae (electric piano) and Trevor Tomkins (drums).

The album title is a pun on the piece ‘Giles Farnabys Dreame’ by the renaissance composer Giles Farnaby.

The album largely consists of renaissance dance tunes played on a combination of early and modern instruments. This prefigures some of the work later undertaken by the Albion Band and Home Service. It is chiefly notable for its experimental nature, demonstrating some of the diverse attempts at fusion at the time which resulted in subgenres such as folk jazz and medieval folk rock. It is most similar in its sound to medieval folk and progressive rock bands like Gryphon and Gentle Giant. The rarity of the album has made it the subject of enthusiasm for some collectors.

The song ‘Newcastle Brown’ was subsequently released as a single (Argo, AFW112, 1973). (by Wikipedia)

“Giles Farnaby’s Dream Band make an entirely new medieval-electric sound. Formed by linking the medieval St George’s Canzona with the folk trio Broken Consort, the resulting band brings together early and present day instruments in imaginative and unique performances of some of the most tuneful and infectious music of all time.

The Dancing Master

“Most of the titles on this album are taken from ‘The English Dancing Master, published by John Playford, Britain’s first ever music publisher. The Tin Pan Alley of 1655 was situated near the Temple Church in London, and it was from a tiny shop near the church door that Playford’s publications were sold.

“The English Dancing Master or ‘Plaine and easie rules for the dancing of country dances, with the tune to each dance’ was first published in 1651, during the period of Oliver Cromwell’s Puritan Commonwealth. It was an austere time, with most of the old customs forbidden: dancing, profane singing, wakes, revels, ringing of bells, maypoles were all banned as dangerous to the security of the nation, and it seems a curious time to publish a collection of dance music. Playford’s own explanation was simple…’I publish this book lest the tunes be forgot’…

“The volume was immediately successful and went into several editions over the next twenty years (in fact it is still in print today). A possible reason for its popularity might have been that although Parliament abolished most forms of merry making, the Lord Protector himself seems to have enjoyed the occasional revel and given dancing a subdued show of approval…

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“14th November 1657: ‘On Wednesday last was my Lord Protector’s daughter married to the Earl of Warwick’s grandson; and on Thursday was the wedding feast kept at Whitehall, where they had 48 violins, 50 trumpets and much mirthe with frolics, besides mixed dancing (a thing heretofore accounted profane) till five of the clock yesterday morning.’ (by Kevin Daly; taken from the original liner notes)

Oh yes … not only an extremely rare album, but an album, that is really wonderful … old renaissance tunes performed in a very gentle and warm sound and style …

A more than unique and brilliant album !

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Personnel:

St. George’s Canzona:
Frank Grubb (rebec, Recorder)
John Grubb (lute, harpsichord)
Derek Harrison (rebec)
John Lawes (crumhorn, Recorder)
Mike Oxenham (crumhorn, clarinet, curtal, Recorders)
John Sothcott (citole, crumhorn, rebec, recorders, whistle)
Leila Ward (crumhorn, Recorders)

The Druids (vocals):
Judi Longden – Keith Kendrick – John Adams – Mick Hennessy

Trevor Crozier’s Broken Consort:
Annie Crozier (concertina, bowed psaltery)
Trevor Crozier (vocals, banjo, cittern, guitar, harmonica, mandolin)
Vic Gammon (concertina, guitar)
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Jeff Clyne (bass)
Dave MacRae (piano)
Trevor Tomkins (drums)

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Tracklist:
01. The Hare’s Maggot 2.45
02. Rufty Tufty/Beau Stratagem/Appley House 1.45
03. Hole In The Wall/The Chirping Of The Nightingale 1.50
04. Pastime With Good Company 2.55
05. Daphne/Nonsuch/Jack’s Maggot/Childgrove 4.47
06. Shrewsbury Lasses 2.36
07. Newcastle Brown 2.54
08. Helston Furry Dance/Picking Of Sticks/The Butterfly 2.02
09. The Indian Queen 2.40
10. The Happy Clown 1.44
11. Ratcliffe Highway 2.42
12. The Twenty Ninth Of May 2.01
13. The Black Nag/Poor Robins’ Maggot/Greensleeves 1.59
14. Portabella 2.37
15. The Draper’s Maggot/Tower Hill 3.07
16. Mr. Beveridge’s Maggot/The British Toper/London’s Glory 4.11

All songs are traditionals except “Newcastle Brown” which was written by Sothcott/Daly

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Jan Akkerman – Tabernakel (1973)

frontcover1This album — which, despite being third in most discographies, was actually Jan Akkerman’s first official solo album — must have been a real shocker to a lot of Focus. Rather than working from the flashy, electric guitar side of the group’s sound, Akkerman chose to expand on the lute sound that he’d explored on Focus III’s “Elspeth of Nottingham.” Tabernakel represented Akkerman at his most formalistic, playing almost entirely in a classical idiom on lute and acoustic and electric guitars (with one brief side trip to the bass). The repertory is drawn largely from 16th century Tudor England, including compositions by John Dowland and Antony Holborne, rearranged by Akkerman and harpsichord virtuoso and scholar George Flynn. He gives one major concession to progressive rock in the form of the fuzz-laden reinterpretation of “House of the King,” which misses the flute part from the Focus original but is still worth hearing as a guitar showcase. Tabernakel is otherwise the real article as far as its classicism — the 14-minute-long “Lammy” comes close to being pretentious without quite crossing the line, and all of the album is a fascinating solo departure for the guitarist. What makes this album doubly intriguing is that apart from Flynn, Akkerman’s accompanists come entirely from the rock world: Tim Bogert, Carmine Appice, and veteran R&B drummer Ray Lucas, none of whom seems to skip a beat in their work here. Recorded at Atlantic Records’ studios in New York and released in 1974, when Focus was still near the peak of its fame, Tabernakel sold reasonably well at the time, but had been unavailable from the late ’70s until 2002, when Wounded Bird Records reissued it in a good-sounding CD edition. (by Bruce Eder)

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Personnel:
Jan Akkerman (guitar, lute, bass, harpsichord, piano, glockenspiel, percussion)
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Robert Alexander (trombone on 01. +08.)
Carmine Appice (drums on 04. + 10.)
Harold Bennett (flute on 01., 04. + 08.)
Lawrence Bennett (tenor vocals on 10.)
Eugene Bianco (harp on 08.)
Albert Block (flute on 08.)
Philip Bodner (oboe on 08.)
Tim Bogert (bass on 04. + 10.)
Raymond Crisara (trumpet on 01.)
Richard Davis (bass on 08. + 10.)
George Flynn (harpsichord on 08. + 10., glockenspiel on 08., piano on 08.)
Dominick Gravine (trombone on 01. + 08.)
Stephen M. Johns (tuba on 08.)
Elliot Levine (bass vocals on 10.)
Ray Lucas (drums on 01. + 10.)
Walter Kane (bassoon on 08.)
Josephine Mongiardo (soprano vocals on 10.)
Alan Rubin (trumpet on 08.)
Charles Russo (clarinet on 10.)
Russell Savakus (bass on 01. + 04.)
Daniel Waitzman (flute on 10.)
Joseph Wilder (trumpet on 01.)
William Zukof (countertenor vocals on 10.)
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cello:
Charles McCracken – George Koutzen – George Ricci – Gloria Lanzarone – Jesse Levy – Kermit Moore – Lucien Schmit
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viola:
Alfred Brown – David Sackson – Emanuel Vardi – Richard Maximoff – Selwart Clarke –  Seymour Berman
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violin:
Arnold Eidus – Carmen Malignaggi – David Kunstler – Elliot Rosoff – Frederick Buldrini – Gene Orloff – Guy Lumia – Harold Kohon – Harry Cykman – Joseph Malignaggi – Kathryn Kienke – Lewis Eley – Norman Carr – Raoul Poliakin
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french horn:
Earl Chapin – James Buffington – Ray Alonge – Tony Miranda
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George Flynn (conducter)
Gene Orloff (concertmaster)

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Tracklist:
01. Britannia (Dowland) 3.58
02. Coranto For Mrs. Murcott (Pilkington) 1,30
03. The Earl Of Derby, His Galliard (Dowland) 2.00
04. House Of The King (Akkerman) 2.25
05. A Galliard (Holborne) 2.13
06. A Galliard (Dowland) 1.35
07. A Pavan (Morley) 3.07
08. Javeh (Akkerman/Flynn) 3.24
09. A Fantasy (Laurencini Of Rome) 3.22
10. Lammy: (14.01)
10.01. I Am (Flynn/Akkerman)
10.02.Asleep, Half Asleep, Awake (Akkerman)
10.03. She Is (Flynn/Akkerman)
10.04. Lammy (Flynn/Akkerman)
10.05. We Are (Flynn/Akkerman)
10.06. The Last Will And Testament (Holborne)
10.07. Amen (Flynn/Akkerman)

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Trio Mediæval – Folk Songs (2007)

FrontCover1Corresponding with Trio Mediaeval’s tenth anniversary, their fourth ECM album is a powerful and compelling recording of Norwegian folk songs. Performed in concert over the years, these songs are always received ecstatically – this is the album that Trio Mediaeval’s fans have been waiting for. The infectious melodies and haunting harmonies of this music will communicate across categories to a very broad listenership. Joining the trio on several selections is percussionist Birger Mistereggen, a specialist in the Norwegian folk drumming tradition. The inclusion of percussion not only widens the sonic spectrum of the group, but also adds a rhythmic element to these ballads, hymns, psalms, love songs and lullabies. Founded in Oslo in 1997, the Norwegian- Swedish vocal group Trio Mediaeval was taken up the following year as protégés of the Hilliard Ensemble. Hilliard tenor singer John Potter was especially excited by their potential and brought the group to ECM, acting as producer or coproducer on each of their New Series discs, Words of the Angel, Soir, dit-elle and Stella Maris. Each of these recordings has had great success with fans and critics alike and the trio has maintained a consistent touring presence in the US and all over the world.

This wonderful trio of Scandinavian women, based in Oslo, has long tantalized audiences with samplings of Norwegian folk songs. Here, at last, is a full helping, infectious and addictive, as warm or meditative lyricism alternates with joyous friskiness (by James R. Oestreich).

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I haven’t been enthusiastic about this ensemble of women singers, Trio Mediaeval, on their previous CDs, singing potpourris of chant and polyphony. Their voices are more individually interesting than those of the better-known Anonymous Four, but they’ve ‘schmalzed’ up the reverb and used other little gimmicks to trick themselves out as ‘spiritual-sounding.’ On this CD, however, they’ve tapped into their Norwegian roots, utilized the special vocal quality of Norwegian women singers, caught all the trollish mystery of ancient runes and isolated fiords. We Swedes depend on our Samii and Finnish singers for equally “weird” and heathenish vocal effects, but we can’t match the Norwegians. I’ve never heard this music before except when kayaking farm to farm on one of the northernmost fiords. Trio Mediaeval has saved something very deep and enchanting from oblivion. (by Gio)

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Personnel:
Anna Maria Friman (vocals)
Linn Andrea Fuglseth (vocals)
Torunn Østrem Ossum (vocals)
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Birger Mistereggen (percussion, jew´s harp

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Tracklist:
01. Det Lisle Bånet (The Little Child) 4.43
02. So Ro, Godt Barn (Rest Now, Sweet Child) 3.07
03. Villemann Og Magnhild (Villemann And Magnhild) 1.49
04. Tjovane (The Thieves) 2.36
05. Nu Solen Går Ned (The Sun Is Setting) 3:56
06. I Mine Kåte Ungdomsdagar (In My Reckless, Youthful Days) 3.41
07. Gjendines Bådnlåt (Gjendine’s Lullaby) 3.52
08. Buremarsj Frå Gudbrandsdalen (Wedding March From Gudbrandsdalen) 3.05
09. Rolandskvadet (The Song Of Roland) 2.49
10. Solbønn (Sun-Prayer) 1.20
11. Eg Veit I Himmerik Ei Borg (I Know A Stronghold In Heaven) 2.57
12. Nu Vilar Hela Jorden (All The Earth Now Rests In Peace) 3.28
13. Springdans Fra Vestfold (Dance From Vestfold) 1.37
14. Eg Aktar Inkje (I Don’t Think Much Of Those Boys) 1.36
15. Den Elskte Jerusalem (Beloved Jerusalem) 3.24
16. Till, Till Tove 4.54
17. Lova Line 3.44
18. Danse, Ikke Gråte Nå (Dance, Do Not Cry Now) 1.58
19. Den Signede Dag (The Day Of Joy) 2.49
20. Folkefrelsar, Til Oss Kom (Saviour Of The Nations, Come) 3.02

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John Renbourn – The Lady And The Unicorn (1970)

FrontCover1The Lady and the Unicorn is the 1970 solo album by British folk musician John Renbourn. On this release, Renbourn ventures into folk rock and medieval music territory. The first four tracks are arranged from the Add MS 29987 manuscript. The cover was taken from The Lady and the Unicorn tapestry. (by wikipedia)

Renbourn’s last solo album for the next six years overlaps with his Pentangle work, featuring Terry Cox playing hand drums and glockenspiel, with future John Renbourn band member Tony Roberts and violinist Dave Swarbrick. The repertory consists of medieval and early classical pieces, interspersed with the expected folk material — keyboard works from the Fitzwilliam virginal book (transcribed for guitar) stand alongside traditional tunes such as “Scarborough Fair,” which turns up as part of an 11-minute track that also incorporates “My Johnny Was a Shoemaker,” with Swarbrick at the top of his form on violin. The album is entirely instrumental, but as with other Renbourn releases, one hardly misses the vocals. (by Bruce Eder)

John Renbourn

Taken from the original liner-notes:

This record contains a variety of instrumental pieces including medieval music, folk tunes and early classical music. The oldest are probably the English dance tune ‘Trotto’ and the Italian ‘Saltarello’, to which I have added a drone accompaniment, tuning the guitar to DGDGCD. ‘Lamento di Tristan’ and ‘La Rotta’ are fourteenth century Italian pieces played originally on vielle. They too are without harmony but have the tune doubled either on sitar or glockenspiel.
The three part conductus ‘Veri Floris’, composed during the Notre Dame period, is a setting for the words ‘Under the figure of the true flower which the pure root produced, the loving devotion of our clergy has made a mystical flower constructing an allegorical meaning beyond ordinary useage from the nature of a flower”.
This is followed by the triple ballade ‘Sancuer-Armordolens-Dameparvous’ of Guillaume de Machaut.
‘Bransle Gay’ and ‘Bransle de Bourgogne’ are from the danceries of Claude Gervaise, composed in about 1550. The first is played on solo guitar but the second uses flute, fiddle and has a second guitar line added. The anonymous ‘Alman’ is taken from the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book and is followed by ‘Melancholy Galliard’ by the English lutanist John Dowland. The sequence concludes with the ‘Sarabande’ in B Minor by J. S. Bach.
The album ends with two short guitar pieces, ‘The Lady And The Unicorn’ and an arrangement of the sixteenth century song ‘Westron Wynde’, and arrangements for flute, viola and guitar of two folk songs: ‘My Johnny Was A Shoemaker’ and ‘Scarborough Fair’.
I have not presumed to reproduce early music as it would originally have been played, but hope nevertheless that the qualities of the music can be enjoyed, though interpreted on more recent instruments. (John Rebourn)

Such a beautiful album … a timeless classic recording !

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Personnel:
Don Harper (violin)
Lea Nicholson (concertina)
John Renbourn (guitar)
Tony Roberts (flute)
Dave Swarbrick (violin)
Ray Warleigh (flute)

BackCover1
Tracklist:
01.1. Trotto (Anonymous) 0.40
01.2. Saltarrello (Anonymous) 1.53
02.1.Lamento di Tristan (Anonymous) 1.58
02.2.La Rotta (Anonymous) 0.55
03.1.Veri Floris (Anonymous) 0.44
03.2. Triple Ballade (Sanscuer-Amordolens-Dameparvous) (de Machaut) 2.00
04.1.Bransle Gay (Gervaise) 1.13
04.2.Bransle de Bourgogne (Johnson) 1.34
05.1.Alman (Anonymous)1.25
05.2.Melancholy Galliard (Dowland) 2.47
06.Sarabande (Bach) 2.41
07.The Lady And The Unicorn (Renbourn) 3.21
08.1.My Johnny Was A Shoemaker (Traditional) 4.16
08.2.Westron Wynde (Traditional) 1.25
08.3.Scarborough Fair (Traditional) 7.22

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