COMPOSERS: Anchieta; Narváez
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Cancionero
PERFORMER: Dufay Collective
CATALOGUE NO: AV 0005
There have been several new discs recently celebrating the rich musical culture of 16th-century Spain, and this, in terms of musical standards, is one of the better ones. The Dufay Collective has taken the trouble to produce a programme that sounds like a recorded concert: the items are grouped together into varied types of performance (wind ensembles, viol music, lute and voice, vocal ensembles) with nicely contrasting repertories (keyboard pieces, dances, comic ditties, love songs, laments) and a coherent shape. Some of the most exciting playing comes in the rhythmic drive and biting precision of the wind ensemble pieces such as ‘La Alta’ and ‘La Spagna’ – performances that remind one strongly of the vigorous style of the early music pioneer David Munrow in the Seventies. But on this disc it is the lute that plays the most sensitive and complex role, especially in the magically performed Fantasia by Narváez. Two other works, ‘Con amores’ and ‘Calabaza’, can also be found on the recent Fires of Love recording on Delphian (reviewed in May), but the alert and dramatic projection here easily surpasses the competition. My early copy of this disc had some bad edits, but it still captured a real musical event.