Aquilonis

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Brooks,Jormin,Smith
LABELS: ECM New Series
ALBUM TITLE: Aquilonis
WORKS: Works by Smith, Brooks, Jormin; plus traditional music from Iceland, Norway, England and Italy
PERFORMER: Trio Mediaeval
CATALOGUE NO: ECM 481 1160

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If you’ve been lucky enough to hear Trio Mediaeval in concert you will have experienced something very special: a sense of being a privileged participant in a timeless, numinous ritual, enveloped by voices that seem like some celestial exhalation yet brim with real human warmth and sensuousness. They have always managed the not inconsiderable feat of transferring this ambience to their recordings, and the almost legendary quality of ECM’s sound conveys the experience as vividly as you could reasonably hope for. This recording was supervised by the superb tenor John Potter, who produced the Trio’s first three albums and has sung with the Hilliard Ensemble, the Dowland Project, Conductus and other distinguished early music groups, so knows what he is doing.

As in previous projects, the Trio brings together ancient liturgical, folk and contemporary pieces without a trace of contrivance or force. Transitions between centuries are achieved seamlessly, naturally and imperceptibly, while juxtapositions of music from Iceland, Italy and England complement each other rather than clash. Enchanting individually and as a unit, Anna Maria Friman, Linn Andrea Fuglseth and Berit Opheim produce exquisite, shimmering, luminous lines, subtly underpinned in places by Hardanger fiddle (Friman), portable organ (Fuglseth) and melody chimes (all three).

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Barry Witherden