Al-Basma: Voyage au coeur d’Al-Andalus

CD cover of Al-Basma Canticum novum

ames RossCanticum Novum, Emmanuel Bardon
78:31
Ambronay AMY057

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Under their director Emmanuel Bardon, Canticum Novum continue their exploration of the early music of the Iberian peninsula with this selection of music from Andalusia including Arabic songs and material from the Codex of Montpellier and the Cantigas de Santa Maria. Inhabiting the ground somewhere between traditional and mainstream early performance, Canticum Novum use a variety of vocal techniques and early instruments to bring this music vividly and convincingly to life. What is striking about the integration of early Arabic material with the medieval manuscripts is the cross-fertilisation easily heard between the two worlds. In the Middle Ages, Andalusia was a cultural mixing pot of various ethnicities and nationalities, and this is apparent in this cleverly constructed programme. Recorded in the resonant acoustic of L’Abbaye de Sylvanès, Canticum Novum move seamlessly from solo to ensemble repertoire, genuinely exploring the music and letting it speak eloquently to us down the centuries. Having specialised for many years in this earliest repertoire, they manage to make it sound very natural in performances which belie the scholarship and technical assurance that underlie them.

D. James Ross