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Aisso com es sobronrada [4:41]
Ghirardello da FIRENZE
I’ vo’ bene a chi vol bene a me [2:16]
O Bel Visino [3:29]
Or piangiamo che piange Maria [4:19]
Isabella [4:25]
Madonna santa Maria [3:59]
Bella figliola ca te chiamme Rosa [4:40]
Beatriz de DIA

A chantar m’ er de co qu’eu no volria [7:17]
Principio di virtu [3:44]
Oh re re lu passierelle n’dalla vena [3:13]
Salterello [1:20]
Camini por altas torres {3:22]
A la una yo naci [4:38]
Un pregón pregonó el rey [3:38]
Durme durme hermozo hijico [1:50]
Nani nani [6:08]
Alla Francesca En Trio: Brigitte Lesne (vocal, harps, percussion), Pierre Hamon (flutes, bansuri, cornemuse, tambour), Carlo Rizzo (vocal, tammorra, tamburello, tambourines)
rec. 18-20 June, 2007, L’église de Bon Secours, Paris and 23-25 June 2008, Preuré de Froville
Texts and Translations included


Experience Classicsonline

Brigitte Lesne is one of the most significant performers in the field of medieval song. She has a thorough grounding in both the theory, the scholarship and the practice of this repertoire, and a quality of voice well suited to interpretation of something like the full range of the vocal music of the middle ages. Her achievements are well evidenced in her work, both in concert and on record, with the groups Discantus and Alle Franceca and in her teaching, particularly at the Centre de Musique Médievale in Paris.

Thoroughly at home in the repertoire Lesne’s performances of it are never merely pedantic in their treatment of the tradition. Her ears and her mind alike are open to many musical presences and she isn’t afraid to let them play a role in keeping this music alive. When, in issue 26 of the magazine Goldberg, she chose “10 CDs for a Desert Island”, her choices included performances of orthodox Chant, of music by Monteverdi, Bach, Mozart, Schubert, Mahler and Stravinsky – as well as tracks by Nina Simone and Cesaria Evora. She included only one piece of medieval music (because it included the voices of her children), observing that, otherwise, “Medieval Music is so much a part of me that I wouldn’t need to bring a recording of it on this adventure”. That sense of extreme familiarity and ease within the idiom, of a personal expressiveness entirely natural and grounded in years of hard work, is evident in all the performances on this thoroughly enjoyable CD which mixes music datable to the 12th to 14th centuries and traditional music which surely goes back at least as far as that.

Alongside Lesne in this recording are flautist Pierre Hamon (co-leader, with Lesne, of Alla Francesca in its various incarnations) and tambourine-virtuoso and singer Carlo Rizzo.  Born at Mestre in 1955, Rizzi is a remarkable musician, whose study of traditional hand-percussion has been the foundation for his work in many different musical contexts – folk music, music of the middle ages, jazz and more. There are surely not many other musicians who have worked with Bijan Chemirani, Brigitte Lesne and Bobbie McFerrin!

Hamon, Lesne and Rizzo bring their talents and experience, their sense of style and their capabilities as improvisers, to the interpretation of a range of musical materials illustrative of the networks of conscious (and unconscious) borrowings, influences and variations which knit together the music of the Mediterranean. For it to fully live up to its title the disc should, I suppose, have included music from North Africa, from Syria and Lebanon too – but let’s not be greedy! What we get is a selection which, geographically-speaking, includes work from Provence, Florence, Naples, and Spain, and which includes both traditional Sephardic pieces and Italian lauds, as well as estampies and lullabies.

Rizzo’s percussion work is everywhere excellent; Hamon is stylistically flexible and produces some marvellous sounds from his battery of flutes; Lesne is as exciting as ever vocally – and she is no slouch on the harps, either! Particular highlights include ‘Camini por altas torres’ a hauntingly melancholy Sephardic lament of expulsion and isolation; the insistent rhythms of ‘Isabella’, a fourteenth-century Italian istanpitta, in which the interplay of flute and percussion is gorgeously intricate; ‘Or piangiamo, che piange Maria’, a thirteenth century Italian laud with a particularly beautiful melodic line, to which Lesne does full justice. But every track here might be singled out for praise, and unlike many such compilations, there is such variety of genre and mood that this is a programme which can be listened to straight through, as well as sampled.

Glyn Pursglove



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