Anon: Le Manuscript du Roi

LABELS: Alia Vox
ALBUM TITLE: Estampies & Danses Royales
WORKS: Le Manuscript du Roi
PERFORMER: Hésperion XXI/Jordi Savall (viele, bowed lyre, rebab)
Le Manuscript du Roi is the oldest extant record of Western instrumental music, and this exploration of it quivers with the excitement of discovery. Plunging headlong into the sonorities and moods of a long-lost world, Hésperion charges each melody with invention and daring. Simple lines of ligature become departure points for journeys into the most diverse realms, some haunted, some sweet, some majestic. Interpreting medieval music require performers to also compose, because apart from a melodic line the manuscript tells us nothing. In realising the Manuscrit, Hespérion draws on a wide range of sources – organology, apposite trouvère songs, poetry, choreography, iconography, and analogous practices in traditional music – to generate fresh solutions to this old problem. One listens eagerly to see what might happen next. Will the persussion channel the melody into a new metric pattern? Will the dialogue between two instruments turn competitive? Brilliantly engineered, the contrasts of colours play with textures and mix of timbres infuse the disc with vitality. The uniqueness of this recording is equal to that of its source.