Or La Ninfea’s Musical Medicine Chest
Minko Ludwig tenor, La Ninfea
Perfect Noise PN1904
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Music by Henry Purcell, Anthony Holborne, Giles Farnaby, Lully, Marais, Charpentier and Tobias Hume is linked here by traditional tunes and improvised divisions in a regular chemist’s shop of sickness and cures. La Ninfea have trawled far and wide through the music of the Renaissance and the early Baroque to find pieces with medical resonances and have come up with a pleasing programme on their theme, which includes some familiar and unfamiliar songs and instrumental music, ranging from the predictable Purcell glees to unanticipated dips into French Baroque opera. There is an engaging contemplative quality about their accounts here, particularly in the very free divisions, which almost take on the ambience of improvisatory jazz. The playing is generally very convincing, and the blend between the instruments and with the voice pleasant and persuasive. I like the way the improvisatory quality of the divisions seems to spill over and pervade all of the tracks. The dance movements have an involving swing to them, while the performers seem to enjoy exploring the textural potential of their instruments.
D. James Ross