Various: Songs of the trouvères

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COMPOSERS: Various
LABELS: Alpha
ALBUM TITLE: La Doce Acordance
WORKS: Songs of the trouvères
PERFORMER: Diabolus in Musica/Antoine Guerber
CATALOGUE NO: 85
Among the trouvères – the northern French successors of the troubadours – were such legendary names as Thibaud de Champagne, celebrated by Dante, Chrétien de Troyes, Conon de Béthune and the Châtelain de Coucy. While the influence of their song has resonated through European poetry and music down the ages, there are surprisingly few recordings of this repertoire currently available. This selection, carefully researched by director and harpist Antoine Guerber, includes some of the most beguiling trouvères chansons, performed with great sensitivity to courtly style by the ensemble Diabolus in Musica.

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Each of the three singers captures the poetry and rhetoric of this highly-refined art, effortlessly bringing to life the vibrant sounds of the langue d’oil – the medieval language of northern France – with their supple, fluid delivery and thoughtful attention to the details of pronunciation and versification. In keeping with the performance styles of the trouvères themselves, some songs are performed a cappella, others with the delicate accompaniment of a single instrument intricately woven around the voice. The chapel acoustic wraps a glossy halo round the sound, the whole magically evoking a lost world of ‘sweet accord’. Kate Bolton