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Mimicry can be a powerful musical tool. One of the best and most frequently cited examples is Biber's "Battalia" from 1673: In order to create the impression of a battle field, full of armour, clamour and soldiers, he had the strings tapping the bodies of their instruments and the double bass insert a piece of paper between the strings and the board, thus rendering it percussive. As great as this early piece of program music may be, there's nothing like the real thing. That's why a new CD, by the ensemble Tibicines, has just that little bit more to offer.

Under the guiding hands of Igino Conforzi, this group has recorded an entire album of such pieces and given it a spectacular twist: Included in the 5.1. stereo mix is a baroque battle, including all imaginable sounds that belong to this kind of fight. So you'll likely have to duck for cover, as canons fire, armed legions march right by, horses galopp in a state of frenzy and noble officers cross their swords. All of this is combined with music by Tielman Susato and Michael Praetorius. Both born in the 16th century, Praetorius is considered as one of his time's as yet undiscovered gems (there is a whole society concerned with preserving his legacy and spreading the word), while Susato is still suffering from an image as a colourful and important person of his era, but hardly a noteworthy composer. The CD should prove this impression wrong and furthermore cast a light on names such as Girolamo Fantini, Pierre Attaignant and Cesare Bendinelli - all of whom will probably not ring a bell with you, but have contributed enjoyable works to the album. Playing should be of the highest quality - Igino Conforzi is recognised as a great trumpet sololist (with numerous recordings for major record companies), as well as an important music researcher in the field of early trumpet and performance pratices. Tibicines, meanwhile, is his child for rediscovering the music of the 16th and 17th Century and has already made a name for itself.

"Battalia! Baroque Battle Music for Trumpet Consort" is therefore the ideal present for all those, who are fed up with either listening to soothing muzak or "Jingle Bells" while waiting for their presents. It offers a nice contrast, too: After listening to this, you'll find your Christmas dinner even more peaceful and relaxing.

Homepage: ARTS Music
Homepage: Igino Conforzi
Homepage: Michael Praetorius Society
Source: Techniques of the "Batalia" at Concertonet


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