Planctus: Death and Apocalypse in [the] Middle Ages

Capella de Ministrers, Carles Magraner
73:22
CdM 1536

This CD consists of an uncompromising draught of the 15th century in the manner of the fondly-remembered Ensemble Organum : forthright singing, imaginative instrumental commentary and fabulously florified plainchant. Notwithstanding the stomach-turningly graphic representation of the crucified Christ’s bleeding hand on the cover, this is not in any way a miserable CD, but rather it crackles with life and excitement. The singing, as I have said, is forthright, the intonation is superb and the blend exquisite. From the programme notes it seems to involve a vocal collaboration between the four vocalists of the Capella de Ministrers and five singers of L’Almodi Cor de Cambra, but the sound is splendidly unified and passionate. Invoking the 1414 coronation of Ferdinand I, the group have scoured Spanish sources of the period to recreate the sort of courtly entertainment which greeted Ferdinand’s guests, and the result is a convincing and evocative sequence of largely unfamiliar 15th-century material beautifully performed. Striking is the unsuspected discography of 35 CDs on their own CdM label listed at the back of the present CD.

D. James Ross