Program: #18-45 Air Date: Oct 30, 2018
Francesco Landini as seen by eastern musicians, more from the Irish Baroque, and the roots of popular song in Valencia.
I. Camerata Kilkenny: The Piper and the Fairy Queen (Camerata Kilkenny) RTE Lyric CD 156.
What follows in compositions by Telemann, Purcell and Leclair, and a number of traditional tunes is a celebration of Ireland’s musical history. Key to the performance of both styles of music is ornamentation – the use of grace notes, runs and trills - which brings the written notes alive, giving the music a feeling of improvisation. So while the music derives from the eighteenth century, this live exploratory edge really gives these performances a contemporary feel.
In both Suite La Musette in G minor, No. 6 by Telemann and the Pifa from Handel’s Messiah, Camerata Kilkenny led by Maya Homburger, the idea of the drone provided by wind-blown pipes is conveyed figuratively by the lower notes of the strings in imitation of the baroque musette, an antecedent of the uilleann pipes. Following on from the Pifa, David Power plays a virtual tone poem for solo uilleann pipes, The Fox Chase, conveying the melody on an old chanter, once referred to as ‘the 18 Moloney’ which was made before the Great Famine, in Co. Clare.
It is these connections – the performance style, musicianship and composition histories – that make Camerata Kilkenny: The Piper and the Fairy Queen such an engaging CD. Not to be missed also is Marja Gaynor and Claire Duff’s charming account of Telemann’s Gulliver Suite for two violins, an example of eye music where the Lilliputian chaconne is written in teeny-tiny quasihemidemisemiquavers and the Brobdingnagian gigue is notated in great big semibreves.
Camerata Kilkenny: The Piper and the Fairy Queen was recorded in the wonderful acoustic of an eighteenth century Georgian house in Co. Kilkenny, resulting in a warm, accessible sound perfectly complementing the music. This new release from RTÉ lyric fm is a must for anyone interested in the musical traditions of Ireland and Europe.
- trad.: The Fox Chase
- trad.: An Droighneán Donn (The Brown Thorn)
- trad.: An Leanbh Sidhe (The Fairy Child)
- trad.: Garden of Daisies
- trad.: Sí bheag, sí mhór
- trad.: The Downfall of Paris
- trad.: The Fox Chase
- Handel: Messiah: Pastoral Symphony 'Pifa'
- Leclair, J-M: Scylla et Glaucus: Musette and Menuets
- O'Carolan: Carolan's Concerto
- O'Carolan: Sí bheag, sí mhór
- Purcell: Suite from the Fairy Queen
- Telemann: Der Getreue Music Meister - 'Gulliver' Suite in D TWV40:108
- Telemann: Suite TWV 55:g1 'La Musette'
II. Arrels: Entre la tradicio i el patrimoni (Capella de Ministrers/Carles Magraner). CdM CD 1844.
Instruments have the upper hand in this programme, but the programme does include several pieces sung by soprano Èlia Casanova and tenor Josep Aparicio (the latter popularly known as Apa). The two singers deliver their pieces with great panache and agility, and the instrumental ensemble - including viols, flute, dulcian, harp and percussion - play with terrific verve, and with percussion enhancing both colour and driving force in some of the pieces. Among my favourites are ‘Boleros de Guadassuar i l’Alcúdia’ (track 4), a vocal duet with substantial instrumental passages in a sequence of great tunes to a pounding rhythm; the lovely build-up of the slow dance in triple time ‘Peteneres de la Vilavella’ (7); the inexorable, powerfully rhythmical ‘La perdiueta’, another very catchy triple-time, jota-style dance movement; and the soprano’s variations on the La Follia theme, ‘Goigs a Nostra Senyora de l’Antiga’ (14).
But in truth all the numbers are highly attractive and enjoyable, and there is not a single dull moment; instead, the enticing and charismatic music sweeps the listener along in an irresistible flow of melody. There are hardly any composers’ names here, but rather this is ‘early music’ with a timeless quality, and with the universality of music that has evolved through centuries of performing traditions. Carles Magraner’s direction is both spirited and beautifully judged, singers and players all perform superbly, and the disc is likely to prove a treat for a wide variety of music fans. The digipak comes with excellent notes, good session photos and all texts and translations.
III. Omaggio a Francesco: West-Eastern Reflections on Landini (Mixtura Ensemble/Eshan Ebrahimi & Arsalan Abedian, santurs). Dreyer Gaido CD 21109.
Telemann, Purcell, Leclair, Handel, O'Carolan, Omaggio a Francesco
RTE Lyric CD 156, CdM CD 1844, Dreyer Gaido CD 21109