In saeculum viellatoris: The Medieval Vielle

Medieval floral

Baptiste Romain, Le Miroir de Musique
Ricercar RIC 388

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his CD provides so much more than its title promises. In fact, it is a survey of medieval bowed instruments in general, but also a beautiful programme of songs and instrumental pieces from the 13th-15th century, mainly anonymous but some by named composers such as Perdigon, Ciconia and Dufay. Playing vielle, rubeba, crwth and bagpipes, and directing the ensemble Le Miroir de Musique, Baptiste Romain is the main focus for these performances, but the group also boasts three further vielle players as well as four fine singers. When three vielles, bagpipes and lute strike up in the anonymous Tenor “La belle”, the sound is stirring indeed, while Grace Newcombe’s singing in the opening track, the anonymous “Ar ne kuthe ich sorghe”, is beautiful, as is Paulin Bündgen’s languid countertenor contribution to Perdigon’s “Bele Ysabelot”. Béatrice Dunoyer supplies a lovely account of Dufay’s “La bellese siet au pié de la tour” and the concluding beautifully blended duet version of “Soyés loyal” from Grace Newcombe and Sabine Lutzenberger is a fitting way to complete this attractive programme. The performers display a wonderful musical instinct with repertoire which, in the wrong hands, can sound cold, abstract and distant, while a CD like this could so easily have been an academic introduction to long-dead instruments rather than the dynamic revelation that it is. The Miroir de Musique have brought this lovely repertoire vividly to life.

D. James Ross

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