Collection: Amor de Lonh

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Bernart de Ventadorn
LABELS: Nimbus
WORKS: Troubadour music and plainsong
PERFORMER: Martin Best Consort
CATALOGUE NO: NI 5544

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Martin Best has been presenting troubadour songs for years, and knows exactly how to do it in a pleasing – if not authentic – manner. Here, for example, only five of the 19 tracks are actually full-length songs from the 12th-century troubadour age (representing ‘human experience’): the others are either instrumental dances (‘earthly things’) or sweetly sung plainsongs (‘the world beyond’).

The pieces by Bernart de Ventadorn are particularly fine. Best surrounds Ab joi mou with a soft instrumental halo fitting the tender detachment of the words, but in Tant ai mo cor he misses the edginess and depth of the sexual passion. Everything is a little bit too bel canto, cocooned in lovely, spacious acoustics.

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The instrumental dances, too, are sometimes distorted in the search for contrast and atmosphere, but it would be hard not to enjoy this nicely arranged concert-on-disc. Anthony Pryer