Three More Musical Voyages

Program: #22-07   Air Date: Feb 14, 2022

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Medieval music from the Mediterranean for the Virgin of the Dawn, Yaniv d’Or’s look at the Sephardic and Sufi traditions, and the latest semi-jazz experiment from Trio Medieval.

I. El canto de Auroros (Alia Musica/Miguel Sánchez). Musique d’Abord/Harmonia Mundi CD HMA 1987018.

Alia Mvsica, Miguel Sanchez - El Canto De Auroros

Alia Musica was formed in 1985 to interpret and perform Judeo-Spanish music from the Middle Ages, based on their own analysis and the insights of musicology. Here is an intriguing reissued collection derived from ancient musical traditions where groups of men sing a variety of religious texts, including polyphonic greetings to the "Virgen de la Aurora", from vespers until dawn.

1. Salve a la Virgen de la Fuensanta
2. Angus Dei
3. Or 'elion
4. Padre Nuestro
5. Miserere
6. Correlativa
7. Yoduja Ra'yonai
8. Ave Maria
9. Miserere
10. Salve De Pasion

II. Exaltation (Ensemble NAYA, Yaniv d’Or, ct.). Naxos CD 8.573980.

From ClassicalModernMusic: Lest we forget the impact of the Judaic and Islamic diaspora on Medieval Europe and beyond, there is the recent Exaltation (Naxos 8.573980). Countertenor Yaniv d'Or and the stylistically diffuse and musically astute Ensemble NAYA give us a follow-up to their earlier Latino Landino (Naxos), which traced the musical heritage of Sephardic culture following their tragic expulsion from Spain along with the Muslim population after 1492. This new sequel casts a wide net from Medieval and Baroque Europe, Turkey and the Mideast to recreate a music of self-determination and movement, joy and the proud certainty of a pluralist identity in a volatile world. I have yet to hear the first volume but I can most certainly vouch for this one.

The music reminds us that reconstructing the Early Music world can sometimes be like creating an entire dinosaur from the material presence of just a finite number of bones. We know of course a fair amount about performance practices in the earlier forms of music over and above what was physically written as melodic line and lyrics. This of course is a vital concern outside of the music of the church in early Europe and beyond, since the musical lifeworld then did not think it necessary (or perhaps even possible) to preserve the spontaneous folk moment of a particular performance. Moreover the background knowledge of such practice of course is not infinitely available to us nor is it generally prescriptive for any given song. It is a fact that increasingly imaginative arrangements are now the rule in Early Music performance practices to make up for that lack, so that musical traditions are recreated as much in the present as they are reconstructed out of the past. We imagine the world then as, shall we say, as "ethnic" as it ever has been in our own world. So we can imagine, for example that a drummer in such an ensemble might play a complex role in the music, may have at hand a set of techniques and may create a variety of variable sounds such as we find still the case in living World Music traditions today. Similarly in the early ensembles the overall instrumentation itself and what they were made to sound come alive in recent times via an imaginative reconstruction of what we know of the period and the survival of traditions in the original homes of the diaspora movements.

So all that holds true quite nicely in Exaltation, with a fascinating blend of some 16 diverse pieces, centering on Yaniv d'Or's accomplished and beautiful countertenor vocals and an ever shifting set of ensemble instruments and parts that imagine a world as exotic and as excitingly, timbrally rich as it no doubt was in real-world, local performance situations. So the flamenco guitar style rubs shoulders with the hammer-sounded equivalent to the santur, the dumbak and ney flute take their place with other more typically Medieval European instruments. All this makes the program both highly attractive and imagines nicely for us the exotic, less easily transcribed timbres of the music as it no doubt sounded at the time, though of course some positivist surety may never quite exist save the discovery of the time machines that would allow our senses to recreate the period exactly as we might experience it!

The music has great beauty and memorability and there is a fitting relevance today to programmatic themes of exaltation, the joy in life and the fervent wish for peaceful co-existence. We might still find such aims a worthy goal in the world today, surely.

This is music one may take some acclimatizing to appreciate fully. But then too it gives you yet another avenue into the self and other as connected to our own and other's musical heritage and traditions, the delight of discovery in the possibilities musically the past gives to us, and the ever cross-fertilization of musical and living cultures in motion. There is a joy in musical joy and there is the joy of discovery the music offers us readily. This album has both joys available to us in a happily generous quantity and that is surely a good thing.

Beautiful! Very recommended for all adventuresome souls. And a must if you keep up with Early Music realms.

1. Exaltation (Catholic Chant),  Yaniv d'Or (05:17)

2. Cantigas de Santa Maria - Rosa das Rosas, Alfonso X (el Sabio) (02:56)

3. Ma belle, si ton âme, Jean-Baptiste Besard (03:44)

4. Barechu, Salamone Rossi (02:13) 

5. El nora alila, Anonymous / Moshe Ibn Ezra (03:11)

6. Demedim Mi (06:42)

7. A la nana y a la buba, Sephardic Traditional (02:26)

8. Primo libro d'arie musicali - Se l'aura spira tutta vezzosa, Girolamo Frescobaldi (02:37)

9. La mañana de San Juan, Anonymous (03:59)

10. Aşkin ile aşiklar, Sufi Traditional (04:37)

11. Ya viene el cativo, Sephardic Traditional (05:37)

12. Yemei Horpi, Shem Tov Levy / Israel Najara (05:20)

13. Mareta, mareta no'm faces plorar, Spanish Traditional (05:22)

14. Üsküdara Gideriken - Kâtibim, Anonymous, Turkish (04:20)

15. Lamma bada, Arabic Traditional (04:39)

16. Siete canciones populares españolas - V. Nana, Manuel de Falla (07:13)

III. Solacium (Trio Mediaeval). 2L CD 2L-165.

Solacium is Trio Mediaeval’s collection of hymns and lullabies. Intimate songs as old as time and as new as tomorrow. This is music with no boundaries, celebrating our common humanity. We’ll never know the first song or the first singer, and we’ll never know what they sang about.

If time could unwind and we could hear it, we would witness a mother or a father singing the first lullaby. When we sing a hymn or a lullaby, we become a link in a chain that began in the unknowable past and will stretch into the infinite future: a timeless continuum of solace and comfort. Solacium is their first release from 2L, and their first album at the NativeDSD Music Store in Stereo and 5.1 Channel Surround Sound DSD and DXD.

The new lullabies by Anders Jormin and Sinikka Langeland began in their heads as little musical gifts for real children and are here sung for all of us by three singers who have sung many a lullaby to their own children, aided and abetted on this album by Trygve Seim, and Mats Eilertsen, fathers both.

Formed in 1997, the Grammy nominated vocal ensemble consists of founder members Linn Andrea Fuglseth and Anna Maria Friman, and Jorunn Lovise Husan who joined the group in 2018. Hailed as a “fascinating journey with music of timeless beauty”, Trio Mediæval’s highly acclaimed first album Words of the Angel in 2001 launched the group into the elite circles of early music ensembles and introduced them to a broad international audience.

Trio Mediaeval
Anna Maria Friman
Linn Andrea Fuglseth
Jorunn Lovise Husan

Guest Musicians
Mats Eilertsen – Double Bass
Trygve Seim – Saxophone

1. Sci vias domini (05:10)

2. Nu rinder solen opp (03:22)

3. Abba, hjartans Fader god (02:59)

4. Nu haver denna dag (04:54)

5. Ubi caritas (06:04)

6. Bysjan, bysjan (03:10)

7. Skal vi ustridig hist (06:29)

8. Krist er oppstanden (02:13)

9. So ro, liten tull (02:18)

10. Baynsull (03:37)

11. Kom, helge Ande (06:13)

12. Limu lima (03:28)

13. I hela naturen (05:19)

14. Pris vare Gud (02:04)

15. Lillebrors hjerte (02:04)

16.Nattens vingar (02:49)


Composer Info

Alfonso X, Yaniv d'Or, Jean-Baptiste Besard, Salamone Rossi, Moshe Ibn Ezra, Girolamo Frescobaldi, Shem Tov Levy, Israel Najara, Manuel de Falla

CD Info

Harmonia Mundi CD HMA 1987018, Naxos CD 8.573980, 2L CD 2L-165