Seized By Sweet Desire

Seized By Sweet Desire

5.0 2
by Musica Ficta
     
 
Seeing the title Seized by Sweet Desire and then putting on the disc and hearing Notre Dame organum is not the problem here. The boundary between secular and sacred in the Middle Ages was porous in the extreme, and the music to which the Notre Dame style gave birth sometimes even had a mixture of secular and sacred texts. Even the fairly raunchy female trouvère

Overview

Seeing the title Seized by Sweet Desire and then putting on the disc and hearing Notre Dame organum is not the problem here. The boundary between secular and sacred in the Middle Ages was porous in the extreme, and the music to which the Notre Dame style gave birth sometimes even had a mixture of secular and sacred texts. Even the fairly raunchy female trouvère songs included here don't automatically place the music in a realm different from the religious pieces. Nor is it much of an issue that Denmark's all-female vocal group Musica Ficta, under male director Bo Holten, sings music from Notre Dame cathedral, where polyphony certainly would have been sung by males. Even if the soaring lines of Notre Dame organum are tied more than most music to a specific place, the music does, as Holten points out, make a refreshing impression with women's voices, and the music of medieval convents is still an unknown enough territory that it's hard to say whether nuns might have known about it or experimented with it. The sound of the album is consistent and fresh, living up to the claim that the group blands "the classical Oxbridge early music ideal with the warmth of the Scandinavian choral sound." Women's voices with a quick, strong vibrato resound in the spaces of St. Paul's Church in Copenhagen, and the sound of the album is consistent from start to finish. That's where the program hits a discordant note; the trouvère songs, delightful as they are, sound oddly anachronistic in a cappella versions, almost as if the music had been turned into Renaissance madrigals. The trouvères, male or female, were bards who sang with instrumental accompaniment. Sophisticated versions of the style with multiple voice parts existed, as presented here, but the music still feels strangely formal when sung this way. That said, this is an intriguing attempt to bring medieval music within the purview of mainstream vocal ensembles.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/27/2009
Label:
Naxos
UPC:
0747313226573
catalogNumber:
8572265
Rank:
294316

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Alleluia, Posui adiutorium, organum for 3 voices: Alleluia, 5. / Posui adiutorium. Organum triplum  -  Pérotin  - Bo Holten  -  Musica Ficta
  2. Viderunt omnes, organum for 4 voices  -  Pérotin  - Bo Holten  -  Musica Ficta
  3. Work(s): A vos vieg, chevalier sire / Et florebit, motet  -  Anonymous, Trouvères  - Bo Holten  -  Musica Ficta  - Ann-Christine Wesser Ingels
  4. Work(s): Je sui jonete / Hé Diex! je n'ai pas mari / Verita  -  Anonymous, Trouvères  - Bo Holten  -  Musica Ficta  - Susannah Carlsson
  5. Soufres, Maris, et Si Ne Vous Anuit  -  Anonymous, French  - Bo Holten  -  Musica Ficta
  6. Work(s): S'on me regarde / Prenés I garde / Hé! Mi enfant,  -  Anonymous, Trouvères  - Bo Holten  -  Musica Ficta  - Susannah Carlsson  - Amy Vestbø
  7. Work(s): Cil bruns ne me meine mie / In seculum, motet  -  Anonymous, Trouvères  - Bo Holten  -  Musica Ficta
  8. Work(s): Nus ne mi pourroit / Nonne sui, nonne, laissier /  -  Anonymous, Trouvères  - Bo Holten  -  Musica Ficta  - Malene Nordtorp  - Ann-Christine Wesser Ingels
  9. Work(s): Jolïement en douce / Quant voi la florete / Je sui  -  Anonymous, Trouvères  - Bo Holten  -  Musica Ficta  - Malene Nordtorp  - Susannah Carlsson  - Ann-Christine Wesser Ingels
  10. Sederunt principes, gradual for 4 voices  -  Pérotin  - Bo Holten  -  Musica Ficta
  11. Mors, clausula for 4 voices  -  Pérotin  - Bo Holten  -  Musica Ficta
  12. Non vos relinquam, Homo quo vigeas  -  Léonin  - Bo Holten  -  Musica Ficta

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Seized By Sweet Desire 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Ted_Wilks More than 1 year ago
This delightful CD gives us a glimpse into what a ground-breaking invention the introduction of three- and four-part notated music (polyphony) was versus single-line notated music. Credit for this invention is given jointly, around the year 1200, to Perotin (a.k.a. Perotinus Magnus or Magister Perotinus) and Leonin (a.k.a. Leoninus, Leonius, or Leo). Tracks 1 and 2 offer examples by Perotin of triple and quadruple organum, respectively; organum may be defined as any of several types of medieval vocal polyphony, usually based on Gregorian chant. The contrast with "traditional" monophonic Gregorian plainchant, with respect to both polyphony and the rhythmical changes incorporated, is astounding. Tracks 10 and 12 similarly offer compositions of Leonin. For many years, it was assumed that, apart from a few noted pioneers such as Abbess Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), Francesca Caccini (1587-c1645), and Elisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre (1665-1729), there were very few documented women composers before 1700; indeed, Vitezslava Kapralova's database lists only around 25. Since it was considered "improper" for women to compose, most women composers' works were either unidentified or passed off as the work of a man. Apart from the assumption that nuns sang in private, little was known about women singers. Tracks 3-9 offer songs by women troubadours, who were much more active as composers and singers than many male musicologists would have had us believe. All the excerpts on this CD are sung by women, and most were probably written for women to sing. Musica Ficta, a Copenhagen-based group that specializes in early vocal music, polyphony, madrigals, and medieval music, performs splendidly under Bo Holten's directorship. Highly recommended! Ted Wilks
JimD More than 1 year ago
It is a truth universally acknowledged--but ready for a second look--that music in the Middle Ages was written and performed exclusively by males. Musica Ficta's director Bo Holten makes the point that nuns in their cloisters must surely have offered music at Mass (Hildegard vonBingen, anyone?), and that some of the "trouvere" songs come from a very female perspective. Holten leads his all-female ensemble in deft execution of the intricate Notre Dame motets and in merry singing of infidelity and the pleasures of the flesh. (You will notice how similar in sound secular and sacred music were in the Middle Ages.) If you're a fan of Anonymous 4, much of this is not news to you. If you'd like to explore this musical by-way for the first time, here's a modestly-priced guide (texts and translations included).