giovedì 14 gennaio 2016

Bitter Ballads

24 tracks - MP3 192 Kbps - RAR 120 Mb

"Ancient and modern poetry set to medieval and traditional melodies," says the subtitle to this disc and it's not as unusual an idea as it might seem: fitting a pre-existing melody to new words, far from being an invention of television advertising, has been done at least since the Middle Ages. Baritone Paul Hillier has revived this practice, pairing troubadour and traditional tunes with poetry ranging from Sappho to Swift and Blake to Brecht. The effect is that of a polished folk song recital but with a more jaundiced tone: these really are "bitter ballads." Hillier's diction could be sharper (you may want to read the poems through before you listen), but his discerning choices and sensitive delivery, along with the exquisite playing of harpist Andrew Lawrence-King, make this innovative program fascinating and even moving."  Matthew Westphal


1 - Clever Tom Clinch Going to be Hanged
2 - The Roundhead
3 - London is a Fine Town
4 - London
5 - The Fine Old English Gentleman
6 - The Great Testament
7 - Highland Dance #1
8 - Kiltory
9 - Highland Dance #2
10 - Shallow-Water Warning
11 - Song for a Sea Tower
12 - The Ballad of Marie Farrar
13 - Senza Licenza
14 - Invention
15 - Fine Flowers in the Valley
16 - Sappho - Fragment
17 - The Keel Row I
18 - It Was Summer Now
19 - The Keel Row II
20 - Disillusionment
21 - The Cockfight
22 - Sailing to Byzantium
23 - Brigg Fair
24 - Coda from Brigg-Flatts

Paul Hillier, voice
Andrew Lawrence-King, harps, psaltery 

lunedì 11 gennaio 2016

O dulcis amor

16 tracks - MP3 192 Kbps - RAR 100 Mb

For the first time in history, the 17th century opened up a vast area of musical activities for female artists as the Renaissance philosophy had established a new place for women in society. In his Il libro del Cortegiano (1528), Baldassare Castiglione presented them as gracious and beautiful, equally cultured in literature as men, as well as educated in dance and music, accomplished in conversational skills, intelligent and entertaining. Life at the courts provided for the donne di palazzo a veritable opportunity to liberate themselves. The new role that was bestowed on women might even have added to the growing sophistication of lifestyle in the 16th century, which was greatly articulated in the promotion of the arts and in the implicit prescriptions for social behaviour. Erasmus revered in his Encomium matrimonii (1518) the blissful union of husband and wife, and the general trend of Neo-Platonism led to a new interest in women, which greatly surpassed their thus far expected role as child bearers to continue the family name, and their rigid position in domestic life. However, only the higher classes in society enjoyed these privileges. Christian tradition was deeply anchored in the common perception of women as unfaithful seductresses, foolish and impetuous. Consequently, women remained the subject of much ridicule and scepticism. The imposing voice of Vespasiano da Bisticci is effortlessly recalled, instructing women to live by the two chief commandments of the apostle Paul: to raise their children as devoted Christians and to keep silent at church. The status from which certain women benefited at the end of the Renaissance was in many ways a compromise between the conservative Christian tradition, strengthened by the Council of Trente (1545-1563), and the humanist objective of equality between male and female.


Caterina Assandra - Imple os nostrum
Caterina Assandra - Ave verum corpus
Caterina Assandra - Haec dies
Caterina Assandra - Ego flos campi
Caterina Assandra - O dulcis amor Iesu
Vittoria Aleotti - Hor che la vaga Aurora
Vittoria Aleotti - Cor mio perche pur piangi
Vittoria Aleotti - Mentre l'ardite labbia
Francesca Caccini - Per la più vaga e bella
Francesca Caccini - Lasciatemi qui solo
Barbara Strozzi - L'amante bugiardo
Barbara Strozzi - Amor dormiglione
Barbara Strozzi - Sete pur fastidioso
Barbara Strozzi - L'eraclito amoroso
Isabella Leonarda - Sonata duodecima, Op. 16
Isabella Leonarda - Iam diu dilecte mi Iesu

La Villanella Basel

Heike Pichler-Trosits, soprano
Claudia Nauheim, recorder
Irene Klein, viola da gamba
Mechthild Winter, virginal, organ
Petra Burmann, theorbo