Unmissable recital of early music on early strings
Kenneth Rooney | Ireland | 02/12/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a marvellous disc, one which sustains, indeed demands repeated listening. It could well be the best thing the veteran fretwork viol ensemble have ever done. These are not dance pieces but songs without words - instrumental arrangements of the Franco-Flemish polyphonic art-songs of the fifteenth century - compiled and arranged by an early sixteenth printer (the first music printer ever in fact), and played on viols which aproximate those used c 1600.
Fretwork outdo themsleves, playing these pieces with an an almost violin- like crispness and precision of attack, and producing a silverly, "throaty" sonority characteristic of viols. In a generous 70 minute+ programme, they skillfully alternate pieces in 3 parts with those scored up to a full 6. This is, if not music expressly intended to 'move' to, then music of gravity and emotion, the distillation of what even in the 1500's was seen as a pioneering age for art music, to be listened to in the same breath as the late Beethoven quartets."
Great instrumental performance
Dr. Marion G. Ceruti | San Diego, CA United States | 10/08/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I like this CD very much. The only thing that I can say that is bad about it is that it does not have any singing - it has all instrumentals. The beauty of this genre is not readily aparent at first exposure. The tunes are not as "catchy" as those in the frottola genre. However, after several sessions of listening to it, the subtle beauty begins to grow and reveal itself, like a vine growing on a tree trunk. These works are really quite exquisite once you get to know them, lovely like flowers on a vine. The composers are an excellent representation of the genre. I recommend it to singers who have the sheet music and want to use a recording as a study tool. Dr. Marion Ceruti, mezzosoprano"
A wonderful CD indeed
Sator | Sydney, Australia | 07/02/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Few people are aware that Petrucci developed printed music and he was responsible for the printed dissemination of many works of composers of the Prima Prattica. Represented here on this CD are works by virtually every really major composer of this time including Isaac, Josquin, Agricola, Obrecht and Brumel - only de la Rue and Gombert seem to be at all missing. The idea of recording them is a brilliant one and Fretwork really make their instruments sing with the lovely rich tone characteristic of a chest of viols. I agree that these works may require multiple listens to fully appreciate but with their contrapunctal intricacies, they contain great depth and beauty that are richly rewarding - reminiscent of the Art of Fugue or the Musical Offering of Bach. The comparison is all the more apt when you consider that Bach would have had many of these composers, especially Josquin, held up to him as models from which to learn the art of counterpoint."