A fascinating title for a really fascinating CD. One which grows on you with repeated hearings. The music on the disc is of the Baroque period, ie sixteenth and seventeenth centuries so what might be described as ‘early music’. But this is not the showy music of the Baroque, but more intimate music designed to be listened to in more intimate surroundings and absorbed and contemplated on. So have a glass or red (or white) put this disc on, light some candles and drift away to this earlier period.
Two things fascinated me:
The instruments used – OK, some are the familiar, ie the violin and possibly the viola d’amore but also we have a sackbut, a serpent and a cembalo – are we at Taronga Zoo – no these were all instruments used in that period and they have fascinating sounds. If you listen to track five there is a piece called ‘Ave Generosa’ for solo serpent. This instrument, so the great CD booklet states, was invented to keep a guy’s choir in tune in 1590 and ‘given that the holes are drilled to fit the size of the player’s hands and not for any acoustic reason, it is a sad reflection of the quality of the choir indeed!’. Some of the sounds that The Sydney Consort make are great – there are some wonderful gurgling ones in a piece by Johann Joseph Fux (an unfortunate name if ever there was).
Indeed the other fascinating things about this CD are the amazing composers on it – some of whom where amazing people like Hildegard von Bingen who we are told was consulted by popes, kings and bishops. She apparently used the curative powers of natural objects for healing, and wrote treatises about the medical uses of plants, animals, trees and…stones! There are lots more insights like this in the booklet. The photos of the instruments and when they were made and of The Sydney Consort also add to what is a lovely CD.
Oh, and I do like the acoustics of St Augustine’s Church in Balmain where the CD was recorded. So buy for these winter evenings with a glass of red (or white)!
|Hear samples of the CD & contact The Sydney Consort on their website to purchase your copy. Or, go to one of their concerts to purchase one.|