Alpha Classics 597
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Anybody old enough like me to remember Jacques Loussier and his renditions of Baroque music in a jazz idiom will be slightly prepared for this CD of ‘reworkings’ of early music. There is certainly the same mellow, laid-back atmosphere here, as a broken consort to end all such (flute/recorder, vihuela, double bass, voice, percussion and serpent) go to work on Dowland, Caccini, Isaac, Encina, Josquin, le Roy, Hildegard and Claudin. I have to say that I disliked both what the ensemble was doing to the music and the end result. Unlike in the case of Loussier, there seemed no consistent style into which the music was being translated – this, to me, was just a mess of folky and experimental jazz influences mashed together. The pretentious programme note failed either to explain or convince – ‘This is the very core of Taracea’s Akoé : the thorn, the stinging spur of curiosity, and the memory of past sounds, the integral genetic inheritance of every composer and musician.’ Many of you will also remember pseuds’ corner… Annoyingly, the obvious musicality of the individual players could have been put to much more worthy ends, but there was a worrying inclination towards iconoclasm (e.g. track 3 Caccini’s Amarilli, mia bella being caricatured on a serpent) and a pretentious self-indulgence about this whole project which I found it very hard to warm to. Certainly not hip in either sense of the word!
D. James Ross