One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

16th-19th November

Shostakovich 4, 11 Nelsons
Transparent Granite!

Nothing but Praise

BrucKner 4 Nelsons
the finest of recent years.

superb BD-A sound

This is a wonderful set

Telemann continues to amaze

A superb disc

Performances to cherish

An extraordinary disc.

rush out and buy this

I favour above all the others

Frank Martin - Exemplary accounts

Asrael Symphony
A major addition

Another Bacewicz winner

match any I’ve heard

An outstanding centenary collection

personable, tuneful, approachable

a very fine Brahms symphony cycle.

music that will be new to most people

telling, tough, thoughtful, emotionally fleet and powerfully recorded

hitherto unrecorded Latvian music


REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing this from
Antonio Zacara da TERAMO (c. 1365-before 1416)
Ferito Già d'un Amoroso Dardo [5:08]
Movit' a Pietade [4:14]
Benché Lontan me Trov' in Altra Parte [4:56]
Plorans Ploravi Perché la Fortuna [8:28]
Nuda non Era, Preso Altro Vestito [5:36]
Le Temps Verrà Tamtoust Après [4:08]
Spinato Intorno al Cor (Instrumental) [4:35]
Un Fior Gentil m'Apparse [4:27]
Rosetta che non Canbi Mai Colore [6:32]
Spinato Intorno al Cor [5:58]
Kristin Mulders (soprano), Kjetil Almenning (tenor), Hans Lub (medieval fiddle), David Catalunya (clavisimbalum), Jostein Gundersen (recorders)
Currentes/Jostein Gundersen
rec. 8-10 October 2010, Hoff Church, Hoff Norway.

Making the acquaintance of new composers is always intriguing. The mysteries surrounding such figures as Antonio da Teramo require more background reading than many. Despite being born with a growth-stunting congenital disorder and as a result being nicknamed ‘Zàcara’ or ‘splash of mud’, Antonio was a skilled painter of miniatures. He was, at the same time, a musician in the service of Popes, making him known in Rome and Florence. This ensured the preservation of his name despite the turbulent times in which he flourished. Further background reading can be found in Johan van Veen’s approving review.

Recorded in Hoff Church, a well-preserved but oft-restored 11th century stone building, ensures ideal acoustics for this music, with its fragility of instrumentation, transparency of line, and gently sparkling clavisimbalum. More importantly, the environment is a gift for the human voice, and no doubt this would have been a factor in the design and proportions of such buildings. Kristin Mulders and Kjetil Almenning are very well matched, delivering eloquent dynamics and phrasing, vibrato as occasional ornament, and excellent diction.

Recorder and medieval fiddle are the only other instruments listed, and you might think the restrictions on sound colour might prove a little off-putting, but nothing could be further from the truth. The remarkable inventiveness of this music holds one in its spell throughout, and more spectacular but suspect instrumentation would doubtless prove a distraction. As has been pointed out elsewhere, the way this music would originally have sounded has long been lost. Any performance today has to be part guesswork, part taste and the fashion and perceptions of our own times as well as a big dollop of hard work researching contemporary illustrations and the manuscripts themselves. The sense of being transported back to a time long forgotten, but one with which we can empathise, is a powerful quality in these performances.

There is a temptation to hear this music as being part of dark devotional nights amongst flickering candles. However, the texts show a preoccupation with love, analogies with nature, emotional striving and no doubt a myriad hidden codes which would have been messages as clear as day to Zacara’s people. The texts are given in the booklet in their original versions as well as Norwegian and English translations but navigation amongst these is a bit of a nightmare. Track numbers would have helped in this section since the multilingual cross-referencing required is needlessly tricky.

If the idea of very early music and spotless performances of some incredible musical jewels attracts, then this CD is its manifestation.

Dominy Clements

Previous review: Johan van Veen