13 tracks - MP3 192 Kbps - RAR 104 Mb
Given the mastery of period instrumentation evident on their new release, you might think the musicians of La Morra stepped right out of the late Middle Ages. "Flour de Beaulté" brilliantly chronicles the late medieval (or ars subtilior) style as it manifested itself in Cyprus during the late 1300s.
La Morra is an early music consort led by flautist Corina Marti and lutenist Michal Gondko. They are expertly assisted on this recording by Els Jannsens (voice), Dani Pelagatti (douçaine), and Uri Smilanski (vielle and flute).
The songs on "Flour de Beaulté" come from the Torino J.II.9 manuscript, cited in the liner notes as "the largest repository of French music... between the Ars Nova compilations of the fourteenth and the Franco-Burgundian manuscripts of the late fifteenth century". The anonymous works provide a glimpse into the musical culture of the Lusignan court at Cyprus, a remote outpost established by England's Richard I in 1192. The Lusignan kings were of French descent, and welcomed the sophisticated musical techniques developed by French composers of the 14th century.
The Torino songs effectively illustrate the character of the ars subtilior era: sophisticated, melismatic melodies and rhythms set against relatively simple harmonic accompaniment. Mysterious, even bewildering at first, these songs will reward the persistent listener with their beguiling charm.
The performances on this disc are vibrantly virtuosic and the acoustics are evocative and atmospheric, conveying a spatial depth that is astounding to experience. The expression "feast for the senses" is overused, but this recording will evoke visions of a dimly lit chapel, the scent of candles and incense, and even the cold touch of stone walls that have witnessed the passing of centuries.
"Flour de Beaulté" was named "Recording of the Year" for 2006 by the Early Music FAQ. It's well deserving of that honor.
1 - La belle et la gente rose
2 - Pour haut et liement chanter
3 - Amour, de qui je sui trestout espris
4 - Sur toute fleur la rose est colourie
5 - J'ai maintes fois oÿ conter
6 - Il faut, pour trover un bon port
7 - Tousjours servir je veuil la douce fleur
8 - Amour tient en sa ballie mon cuer
9 - Puisque amé sui doulcement
10 - Tres gente, pure et nete fleur de lis
11 - Ayes pitié de vostre creature
12 - Vo gent atrait me fait vostre servant
13 - Qui de fortune atende assés avoir
Els Janssens (voice)
Corina Marti (flutes)
Michal Gondko (lute)
Dani Pelagatti (douçaine)
Uri Smilansky (fiddle)