Parle qui veut: Moralizing songs of the Middle Ages

Sollazzo ensemble
46:00
Linn Records CKD529

A CD of moralizing songs from the Middle Ages may not, on the face of it, sound like the most attractive prospect, but when I put on this CD I was instantly captivated by the superb performances. Soaring and fluttering around with perfect tone and intonation, these impressive young singers breathe astonishing new life into the music of the 14th and 15th centuries which they sing here. In recent years, a number of ensembles have tackled this repertoire with such virtuosity and musicality that I have been converted to hearing it as beautiful and beguiling music in its own right rather than puzzling repertoire that it was important to listen to for its historical merit. As an example of the group’s stunning technique and persuasive performance style, listen to track 4, a breathtaking account of Andrea de Firenze’s Dal traditor, and then, for sheer beguiling beauty, listen to the next track, Le basile  by Solage. Throughout this CD, the blend between the voices and the instruments is superb, and again and again new meaning is breathed into music which I had previously heard only in rather worthy performances, if at all. At 46 minutes, this is a rather short CD, but the performers have absolutely made the repertoire their own and turned conjured up 46 minutes of vocal and instrumental perfection. Magical!

D. James Ross