Paz, Salam and Shalom
Noches buenas [6.18]
Miragres fremosos [2.33]
Des oge mais [8.47]
El Rey de Francia [5.26]
La estrellas de
los cielos [9.43]
Por alli paso un cavallero [4.08]
Strela do dia [4.35]
Danza Ritual [4.00]
Ir me quiero, Madre [6.09]
los Santos [1.47]
A la una haci yo [5.35]
Muito az gran ero
Canticum Novum/Emmanuel Bardon
rec. 7-10 December 2010, church of Pommier, France
AMBRONAY AMY033 [75.31]
Canticum Novum is a group with a message. The CD booklet states that their “founding
principle … is to convey through music a message of mutual respect, tolerance
and acceptance of the Other.”
The ensemble is based in the Loire department in France and has been resident
at the Opera Theatre de Saint-Etienne since 2007. The ensemble was founded by
Emmanuel Bardon in 1996. Bardon originally studied cello but then moved to vocal
studies. His article in this CD booklet describes this disc, “Paz, Salam
& Shalom” as “a point of departure, a place where the dialogue,
the encounter with the Other and spirituality spark off the process of transmission”.
I must confess that I don't really quite follow. But this doesn't actually matter
as the recital itself is infectiously involving.
The centrepiece is a group of Sefardic songs from the 15th/16th
centuries sung in Ladino: 'Noches buenas', 'El Rey de Francia', 'La estrellas
de los cielos', 'Por alli paso un cavallero', 'Ir me quiero Madre,' 'A la una
naci yo'. Ladino was the language spoken by Spanish Jews, comprising a mixture
of medieval Spanish and Hebrew. When the Jews were expelled from Spain, they
travelled to the eastern Mediterranean. There, isolated from Western Europe
in the Ottoman Empire, the Ladino language and their songs survived; the Ladino
language acquired loan words from the host countries. The songs on this disc
come from Turkey, Jerusalem, Alexandria and Sarajevo.
These are contrasted with a selection from the Cantigas de Santa Maria, a remarkable
collection of medieval poetry and music from 13th century Spain:
'Miagres fremosos', 'De oge mais', 'Santa Maria Strela do dia', 'Todo los Santos,'
'Muito faz gran ero'.
Finally there are two items from the Muslim tradition: 'Danza Ritual', from
Argella, and 'Uskuder' from Turkey.
The group consists of three singers and eight instrumentalists: Barbara Kusa,
Emmanuel Bardon, Yves Berge (vocals), Valerie Dulac (viele, lire d'archet),
Gwenael Bihan (flutes), Philippe Roche (oud), Remi Cortial (oud, bandolim),
Aroussiak Guevorguian (kanun), Henri-Charles Caget (percussion). The instruments
include a bandolim (a Portuguese mandolin) and Tibetan bowls, not authentic
but intended to widen the range of colours and timbres available.
The arrangements are lively and infectious. The Sefardi songs are often full
of longing and regret. The opening song, 'Noches buenas', is typical with its
haunting exotic languor. It is given a strong rhythmic underpinning which is
common to all the arrangements. Many of the songs are given with slow introductions
and only eight are sung, the remaining five are purely instrumental.
This disc covers similar musical ground to Jolaresa's recent disc “Dancing
girls of Granada”. The approach of the two groups is slightly different;
Canticum Novum's arrangements, though rhythmic, don't feel quite as infectiously
danceable as those of Joglaresa.
The CD booklet includes articles by Gilles Granouillet and Emmanuel Bardon with
full texts and translations for the songs which are actually sung. It might
have been helpful to have had the words for the songs which are performed purely
This is rather an enchanting disc. You might be put off by the flowery language
of the CD booklet, but the performances are thoughtful and engaging.
Thoughtful and engaging.