Capella de Ministrers

Trobadors

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The album Trobadors by Spanish period instrument ensemble Capella de Ministrers originally appeared as a late release on the defunct Auvidis label in 2000. In this Licanus reissue it appears on the CDM imprint, which is Capella de Ministrers' own label. They are joined by soprano Ruth Rosique, who provides the lyrical portion of this program devoted to the works of twelfth and thirteenth century troubadours. This is an unusual slate, in that the emphasis is on instrumental performances, which occupy roughly half the disc. Usually in such a collection, the instrumentals are in the minority.

Capella de Ministrers leader Carles Magraner runs a tight ship; these performances are so well rehearsed that they are almost "slick." For the most part, Trobadors makes up in musicality what it may lack in spontaneity. In transcribing and arranging these tunes, which largely survive in sources where the rhythm is not specified, Magraner is very careful to make sure that the rhythmic mode employed fits the footage within the text, and it all sounds very convincing. Pau Ballester's percussion playing is an outstanding feature of the disc, as it drives the music along with precision; his rendering of the complex time divisions in Aimeric de Peghuilhan's En greus pantais is truly something to hear. The only drawback to Trobadors is the limited nature of the melodies themselves, which remain fairly similar to one another even as Magraner has worked hard to vary the settings in which they are given. Magraner has divided the program as a whole into five distinct sections, and it might make more sense to access it listening to a couple at a time. Otherwise, the pleasant experience had listening to this fine realization of Troubadour music might get lost in a sense of sameness.

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