RSS feed RSS Twitter Twitter Facebook Facebook 15 Questions 15 Questions

CD Feature/ Ensemble Peregrina: "Mel et lac"

img  Tobias

The Middle Ages of our minds were a horrific place: Loathsome landlords exploiting their obedients, dire living conditions with burning heat and freezing cold, brutal physical work, withhunts, no freedom of speech, no freedom of movement, religious oppression and sexual suppression. Up until now, there was every reason to be satisfied with this picture: For one, it made things seem so much more mysterious and intriguing (imagine “The name of the Rose” in a sunny and happy surrounding). And secondly, it allowed us to gladly accept our life in modern times, no matter how hard it might be – if only because things were even worse back then! Thanks to the ensemble Peregrina, we will have to think again.

After all, the Middle Ages of “Mel et lac” are warm and wonderful. Admitted, lyrics mainly deal with the glory of the Virgin Mary and the splendour of the Holy Ghost. But the music that lies beneath tells of very human dreams and desires – just as much as some of the most erotic poetry can be found in the bible, some of the most sensual scores were written in the name of God. Some of the most catchy ones as well – this album is full of melodies that will pass you by at first listen, just to pop up again and again when just you thought you’d already forgotten them. Which has a lot to do with the fact that while vocal lines are still squiggly and ornamented, they inherit a suprising and simple purity and melt into touching harmonic accord at every suitable occasion. And with the incredible repertoire, of course: If there’d have been such a thing at the time, this collection would have been a sort of “Best of the 12th Century” with some of the “greatest hits” around. And yet, despite all of its accesibility and diversity (songs are written for many different forms and apart from the purely vocal pieces, there are some ethereal instrumental contributions), “Mel et lac” manages to keep up the necessary degree of mysticism – just listen to the way the three voices of “Epithalamica” ebb away into the ondulating motives of a harp and solo chant, only to magically reappear at the end. Or to the hypnotic repetitions of the drone-supported “Castitatis lilium effloruit”.

Foremost, however, this record goes to prove that those ancient times were not the dark and brooding place we make it out to be. There was plenty of brightness, love and longing amidst all those troubles – quite a lot like today’s world, really. The Middle Ages weren’t such a  bad place after all.

Homepage: Ensemble Pelegrina
Homepage: Raumklang Records
Homepage: Harmonia Mundi (Distribution)

Related articles

CD Feature/ Karita Mattila: "Helsinki Recital"
Curtains being moved by invisible ...
CD Feature/ Judith Kopecky & Julia Tinhof: "exiles"
Leaves the tears to the ...
CD Feature/ Sibelius: "Works for Violin and Orchestra"
A huge symphony of its ...
CD Feature/ tzesne: "huffduff"
You'll have to turn into ...
CD Feature/ Vivaldi: "Sacred Music 2"
The spiritual journey continues.
CD Feature/ graindelavoix: "Caput"
Climbs and descends until you ...
CD Feature/ Abbaye de Solesmes: "Paques"
Celebratory songs, and you can ...
CD Feature/ Mozart: "Unknown Arias for Soprano"
Even 15 years after their ...
15 Questions to Agnieszka Budzinska/ensemble Peregrina
It seems to be common ...
CD Feature/ Trio Mediaeval: "Stella Maris"
This is the real stuff
CD feature/ Ana Maria Martinez: "Soprano Songs and Arias"
Mellow, dreamy and addictive
CD Feature/ Lucia Popp sings Cantatas and Arias with Trumpet
Consider yourself lucky, if you ...

Partner sites