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From Ocean’s Floor


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In Mani dei Catalani: de Ministrers i Cançoners
see end of review for track listing 
La Caravaggia/Lluís Coll i Trulls
rec. Monestir de Sant Jeroni de la Murtra de Badalona, Spain, 18-22 January 2010. DDD
MUSIÈPOCA MEPCD-002 [61:40] 

Experience Classicsonline

This is the second CD release by the new Catalan label Musièpoca, following a superb debut recording of the music of French Baroque composer Charles Desmazures by the Catalonia-based period ensemble Vespres d'Arnadí under Dani Espasa - see review.
The title of this disc comes from local reactions - "Oh my God, the Church in the hands of the Catalans!" - to the election in 1455 of Calixtus III, the Catalan - or Aragonese, as it was known then - Borja (later Italianised as 'Borgia') family's first pope. The music in La Caravaggia's programme, it must be said, is only weakly linked to this theme; in fact, it is drawn from numerous European songbooks spanning a century between the late 1400s and the early 1500s.
That said, these are actually La Caravaggia's arrangements, justified by tradition, of vocal originals. At 34 items in 62 minutes, there is no question that these are all very short pieces. All except one, in fact, last well under three minutes. Yet what the music lacks in breadth and depth it makes up for in variety, due not only to the stylistic differences of the pan-European composers, some famous, some obscure, but also to the inspired choices and combinations of instruments made by La Caravaggia. The seven musicians use up to 20 different instruments to hugely atmospheric effect, paying great attention to textural and colouristic detail. Alas, the instruments' names are given only in Catalan, and although many of them will probably be widely understood by English readers, it is a pity that no translation has been provided for the more esoteric items.
La Caravaggia have not been around all that long, and indeed this appears to be their first solo recording. Their musicianship is splendid in any case, and even if their musical choices just occasionally edge towards the historically debatable - one or two of the arrangements are surprisingly folk-jazzy - their proficiency, enthusiasm and ensemble playing are compelling.
The physical product is once again of outstanding design: from the colour scheme to the fancy fonts, from the colour photos to the biographical and technical detail provided, the booklet is a pleasure not just to read but simply to look at. The case itself - 'digipak' seems too course a term for it - is made of card, all of which adds to the marvellous feeling of antiquity engendered by the music and performances. Rosa Gomis is again responsible for graphic design and both she and executive producers and label management Pere Saragossa and Dani Espasa, both also instrumentalists with Vespres d'Arnadí, deserve a mention in this review for their excellent production, which also extends to sound quality.
As on the first Musièpoca disc, however, there are a couple of minor quibbles. First, the CD booklet goes into a slot that is not designed to last - it will inevitably tear at one side. Second, though the translation into English of the original Spanish notes is, like the detail of the notes themselves, very good, things unravel a bit in the biographies - after the car-crash translation in the Desmazures booklet, Musièpoca need to consider hiring a native proof-reader for their next disc.
Collected reviews and contact at
Track listing
Heinrich ISAAC (c.1450-1517)
La Morra [1:58]
Mater patris, nacti nacta (attrib.) [2:24]
Mateo FLECHA (?1481-?1553)
Què farem del pobre Joan! [1:50]
Bella, de vós som amorós (attrib.) [2:45]
Gloria...pues nació (attrib.) [1:34]
Bartomeu CÀRCERES (fl. mid 1500s)
Soleta só yo açí [3:30]
Juan CEPA (d.1576)
Soleta i verge estich [0:58]
Nicolas GOMBERT (c.1495-c.1560)
Dezilde al caballero [2:29]
Juan ILLARIO (fl.1400s)
O admirabile comercium [2:23]
Juan PONCE (c.1476-a.1520)
Cómo está sola mi vida [1:57]
Juan DEL ENCINA (1468-c.1529)
Ya soi desposado [2:49]
Pues que tú, reyna del çielo (attrib.) [2:18]
Diego FERNÁNDEZ (d.1551)
De ser mal casada [1:35]
Gabriel MENA (d.1528)
De la dulce mi enemiga [0:50]
A la caça, sus a caça [1:17]
A sombra de mis cabellos [1:46]
Costanzo FESTA (1485/90-1545)
no.20 (of the 157 Contrapunti of the Bologna C36 manuscript)) [1:35]
Pietro ORIOLA (fl.1440-1484)
O vos homines qui transite in pena [1:45]
Pere DE PASTRANA (c.1490-a.1558)
Ay, dime Señora [1:40]
Llenos de lágrimas tristes [2:19]
Pere (de) ESCOBAR (c.1465-a.1535)
Las mis penas, madre [1:12]
Lope DE BAENA (fl.1476-1506)
Amor pues tú nos das plazer [1:54]
Virgen reina gloriosa [2:21]
Josquin DESPREZ (c.1440-1521)
Recordans de my, Segnora [1:24]
Anonymous 15th century (*16th century)
Undecim apostoli secuti sunt Petrum [2:33]
Gentil caballero [1:52]
*Rey a quien reyes [2:28]
No soy yo quien veis vivir [2:11]
*Per la absencia (absencia) [1:33]
Paxarico que vas a la fuente [4:54]
La vida de Culin/Hor amore Guillemin [1:57]
Zappay (lo campo) [1:45]
La Spagna [2:21]

































































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