Search - Johannes Ciconia, Francis of Assisi, Pedro Memelsdorff :: Sidus Praeclarum

Sidus Praeclarum
Johannes Ciconia, Francis of Assisi, Pedro Memelsdorff
Sidus Praeclarum
Genres: Pop, Classical
  •  Track Listings (15) - Disc #1


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CD Details

All Artists: Johannes Ciconia, Francis of Assisi, Pedro Memelsdorff, Mala Punica
Title: Sidus Praeclarum
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Elektra / Wea
Release Date: 6/16/1998
Genres: Pop, Classical
Styles: Vocal Pop, Opera & Classical Vocal, Chamber Music, Historical Periods, Early Music
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 639842166126

CD Reviews

The brightest shining star
R. Hakemulder | Jordan | 06/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Ciconia was perhaps the greatest composer who helped prepare for the Renaissance, although his music belongs largely to the late Middle Ages. He also straddles the music of France, Italy and Flanders, sometimes achieving a synthesis but mostly being eclectic in his style. These motets are among his most miraculous works. Once I have taken this CD from the shelf I always find it hard to put back again. They are all short works, complex and dense, packed with musical information (5 minutes Ciconia = 1 hour Mahler?), but at the same time melodious and immediately attractive. In other words, this disk is addictive. Mala Punica is definitely part of that addiction. They are one of the few innovative ensembles playing music from this period, with a specialisation on Ars Subtilior of Northern Italy and the South of France. Their interpretations, here as well as on their other disks, are consistently exciting as well as convincing, and remind of the pioneering work of the Studio der Frühen Musik under Thomas Binkley, if not in sound then in spirit. On this disk they do full justice to the complexity as well as the variety of the music, from the solemnity of O Padua Sidus Preclarum, to the dance-like and breathless O Felix Templum Jubila. Two simple alleluias provide some breathing space. Mala Punica's interpretations on this as well as their other disks are controversial, it seems, and have learned reviewers complain about the use of instruments (not again....!), women's voices, the use of crescendos and decrescendos and changes in tempi. So be it.... The group's leader, Pedro Memelsdorff, is a well-known musicologist as well as a great flautist, and these performances are based on extensive research. They are also based, I think, on the not unlikely assumption that medieval musicians did not set out to bore their audience and may have used a range of expressive devices even if these were not specified in the score. I think it can also be assumed that these works can be played in a variety of ways, and, to quote Todd McCobb of on another Mala Punica disk, it is very well possible that somewhere sometime these motets have sounded like this. After all, is there any reason to assume that in the late Middle Ages musicians had achieved some unity of interpretation? Well, if so... I hope for their audiences that it sounded like Mala Punica.....

Unfortunately this disk is out of stock, but it is very much worth seeking out. A great disk to complement it is Homage to Johannes Ciconia, with some motets but mostly ballatas, madrigals and virelais. And if you ever run into the original Ciconia disk, of the Studio der Frühen Musik.... not to be missed!"