Search - Italian Anonymous, French Traditional, Jean-Baptiste Besard :: The Renaissance Album (Windham Hill)

The Renaissance Album (Windham Hill)
Italian Anonymous, French Traditional, Jean-Baptiste Besard
The Renaissance Album (Windham Hill)
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Folk, World Music, Jazz, Special Interest, New Age, Pop, Rock, Classical, Classic Rock, Metal
  •  Track Listings (17) - Disc #1


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A fine introduction to early music
James Jones | Clive, IA United States | 08/07/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Fans of any kind of music or literature often have an evangelical bent. "Come on! Just try this one little bit of theater of the absurd/Captain Beefheart/cyberpunk/whatever..." we say to people. I'm that way about early music. In the old days, there was an inexpensive vinyl compilation that I'd always urge on people as an introduction to early music.With this CD I think I've found a more recent replacement for that vinyl disc. It has some very well-known names in the early music field (e.g. Piffaro, the Baltimore Consort), various performers who tend to get the "new age" label, whether they want it or not :), and some people who, with all due respect, one wouldn't at all expect to see on an early music collection, such as Ann and Nancy Wilson, formerly of Heart, or slack key virtuoso Keola Beamer.If you're hard core about authentic instrumentation, much of this album will set your teeth on edge--but IMHO, all the performers here acquit themselves very well indeed. High points for me were Lisa Lynne's performance of Monteverdi's "Si dolce e'l tormento," Michael Hedge's sprightly take on a de Mudarra fantasia, and Keola Beamer's breathtaking performance of Dowland's "If My Complaints Could Passions Move."The CD's irritants for me are few: "My Thing Is My Own" is a one-joke song that way overstays its welcome, and the graphic artists at Windham Hill must've been trying to make the insert just as hard to read as they possibly could have!If you're new to early music, give this CD a try. If you're heavily into it, you'll most likely still enjoy it, and you'll have something you can lend out to spread the habit to your friends--if we get enough people started, we can have the Waverly Consort playing stadiums instead of the latest boy band! :)"
A delightful surprise
R. Josef | New Haven, CT United States | 12/07/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I had a few qualms about picking this one up. Being a Windham Hill release, I was wondering if I was going get a lot of synthesized New Age mush. But this is a wonderful album. Some of the pieces are played pretty straight on traditional instruments, while others stretch the boundaries (Hawaiian guitar, Peruvian flutes). Even when a synthesizer makes an occasional appearance, it doesn't intrude. Although purists may disagree, the performers very much capture the spirit of Renaissance music.

Among the highlights are the previously mentioned piece using Native American and Indian flutes, "O Vos Omnes", by Barry Stramp; the Hawaiian guitar piece, "If My Complaints Could Passions Move"; George Winston playing guitar instead of his usual piano on the French "Villanelle"; and the late Michael Hedges's "Fantasia", which gets a slightly harsh, jazz-rock feel which actually works.

There are only two vocal numbers. David Arkenstone and his wife provide some absolutely stunning vocal harmonies to Claudio Monteverdi's devotional prayer "Domine ad Adjuvandum". The concluding track, the baudy "My Thing is My Own", is arguably the weakest thing here. Performed by Ann and Nancy Wilson, the vocal melody is a bit outside of Ann's singing range. But it's fun.

A relaxing, entertaining CD recommended for everyone."
Light & fluffy
David Roy | Vancouver, BC | 08/22/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I bought this CD when I happened to come across it at Borders. I've been a New Age fan for awhile, and being a history person, I've also been interested in this time period. Who would have thought I'd find a CD that would blend both of those together? This CD is very good. I have to echo the other two reviews on the site in saying that it is great music to listen to at work when you need something in the background. The music takes you back in time to a simpler period, bringing to mind images of Shakespeare and county festivals in the English countryside. Most of the music is very light and upbeat, but there are some pieces that are a bit more moody. I'm listening to Barry Stramp's piece (O Vos Omnes) right now and I can picture an old cathedral church service. Other pieces make you want to get up and dance. If I didn't recognize the names of the some of the artists, I could easily have thought that this music was actually written in the 16th century. It's not to everybody's taste. However, I doubt anybody would find this CD to begin with unless they were interested in this type of music. Given that, I would recommend it to anybody interested in a different sound then the typical New Age music."