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O Lusitano - Portuguese Vilancetes Cantigas and Romances (2001)

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O Lusitano - Portuguese Vilancetes Cantigas and Romances (2001)

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01. La Folia
02. Dos Estrellas La Siguen Machado
03. Ja Nao Podeis Ser Contentes
04. Perdi A Esperance
05. Cuydados Meus Tao Cuidados play
06. Testao Minha Ventura
07. Porque Me Nao Ves Joana
08. Fant Fuenllana
09. Clamabat Autem Mulier
10. Pavan & Galliard D'Alexandra
11. Secaronme Los Pesares
12. Ninha Era La Infanta
13. Vos Senora A Maltratarme
14. Mis Ojos Tristes Ihorando
15. Gran Plaser Siento Yo Ya
16. Pasame Por Dios Barquero
17. Tantum Ergo Sacramentum play
18. Tiento Para Arpa
19. Senhora Del Mundo
20. Nao Tragais Borzeguis Pretos
21. Paso A Paso, Empenos Mios Machado
22. Yo Sonhava Que Ma Ablava
23. Puestos Estan Frente A Frente

Composers:
Portuguese Anonymous – 1,3,4,5,6,7,12,13,14,19,20,22,23
Manuel Machado – 2,21
Miguel de Fuenllana – 8
Pedro de Escobar – 9,11,15,16
Manuel Cardoso – 17
Manuel Rodrigues Coelho – 18

Performer:
Gerard Lesne – counter-tenor
Stephen Stubbs - lute
Andrew Lawrence-King - harp
Nancy Hadden - director

 

.... just as performances and recordings of "Portuguese" music of the Renaissance remain rare. This performance can be labeled Portuguese only loosely, since many of the pieces are sung in Spanish, or taken from Spanish manuscripts, or more properly Galician than Lusitanian. But hey! Who cares? Really artful recordings of any Iberian music of the 'Golden Age' are not sprouting from the cork trees even today. Male alto Gerard Lesne has seldom recorded pre-Baroque chansons, and it's a thrill to hear what he can do with them. Track 9, for instance, the Latin cantiga "Clamabat autem mulier" by Mudarra, takes Lesne from his usual alto register down seamlessly into his tenor chest voice. Wow! Not every counter-tenor can do that and still sound musical! Nevertheless, the best stuff on this CD is instrumental, with Stephen Stubbs and Paula Chateauneuf playing vihuelas (small Spanish guitars) and lute, and with Andrew Lawrence King playing harp. Such Iberian fantasies for plucked strings have an incredible melancholy beauty. To that, add the resonant glory of the viola da gamba, as played by Erin Headley; the repertoire of the solo gamba begins with these 'division' pieces from Spain and Portugal. Have you noticed that not one of these performers is Portuguese, or even Spanish? Neither is the director of the ensemble "Circa 1500", flautist Nancy Hadden. I have a sneaky suspicion that Ms. Hadden assembled this ensemble using some kind of grant money from the Portuguese government. Hadden's flute-playing is, to my ears, not quite up to the standard set by Gerard Lesne or the string players, but then she's working in highly rarified company. The one perennial problem with concerts or recordings of Renaissance secular music is the epigrammatic brevity of the compositions -- so much musical intensity/complexity in such brief exposures. Only one track out of 23 is longer than 3:30, and many are shorter than 2:00. Take it or leave it; that's the nature of the repertoire. In terms of vocal and instrumental virtuosity, this is as excellent an offering as you'll ever hear.

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Last Updated (Thursday, 03 April 2014 16:07)

 

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