Trio Mediæval

A beautiful, century-spanning collection merges seamlessly in gorgeous singing

Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: Gavin Bryars, Oleh Harkavyy, Ivan Moody, Leonel Power, Andrew Smith

Genre:

Chamber

Label: ECM New Series

Media Format: CD or Download

Mastering:

Stereo
DDD

Catalogue Number: 476 124-1

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
Ave donna santissima Trio Mediaeval
Gavin Bryars Composer
Kyrie Oleh Harkavyy Composer
Trio Mediaeval
Laude novella Trio Mediaeval
Gavin Bryars Composer
Ave regina gloriosa Gavin Bryars Composer
Trio Mediaeval
Venite a laudare Gavin Bryars Composer
Trio Mediaeval
(The) Troparion of Kassiani Ivan Moody Composer
Trio Mediaeval
Mass Cycle Alma redemptoris mater Leonel Power Composer
Trio Mediaeval
Ave Maria Trio Mediaeval
Andrew Smith Composer
Regina caeli Trio Mediaeval
Andrew Smith Composer
The framework for this disc is a Mass by Leonel Power (c1370-1445), an approximate contemporary of John Dunstable. The Kyrie, however, is supplied by Oleh Harkavyy (b1968), and pieces by three other modern composers are interleaved as hymns between the sections of the Ordinary.

What is especially remarkable about this disc (apart from its shimmering beauty) is the way everything coheres so well. Pieces written at different times, more than 550 years later than the Mass, by four composers whose styles are not usually that close to each other’s, let alone to Power’s, have come together with scarcely a join showing. Gavin Bryars, in particular, is a revelation. His work is so distinctive that I would have expected to recognise his contributions immediately without effort. In fact, his four settings of anonymous 12th-century Marian poems, three of which feature a wonderful solo part for a member of the trio, achieve that admirable submersion of self which makes this project so successful musically. Bryars speaks of writing for the trio as a challenge akin to working in pen and ink after painting massive canvasses with oils, and he has risen to that challenge superbly.

Harkavyy, Andrew Smith and my Gramophone colleague Ivan Moody all meet their own challenges with success. Harkavyy’s opening Kyrie invokes the spirit of Perotin with its passages of pealing rhythms and celestial cadences. Smith’s Ave Maria and Regina Caeli, which follow the Credo, perhaps have the most modern edge, but their ascentic and elegant polyphony still blends with the overall character. Between the Sanctus and Agnus Dei come Moody’s luminous, often sensuous Troparion and Lion’s Sleep, bracketing the last of Bryars’s Laude. The CD closes with the plainchant on which Powers built his Mass.

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