In the visual arts, anamorphosis is a technical term for a distorted image that changes appearance with an altered perspective, usually revealed through projection or as seen through a special lens. As used in the context of this 2019 release by Vincent Dumestre and Le Poème Harmonique, the word has a somewhat ambiguous musical meaning, suggesting the duality of sacred and secular characteristics that became a hallmark of early Baroque music. This metaphorical sense of anamorphosis is illustrated by the Miserere of Gregorio Allegri, which was originally composed as an austere homophonic setting of Psalm 50, as approved by the Catholic Church after the Council of Trent, but was reworked over time through elaborate embellishments and expressive dissonances that emphasized the emotional power of certain words. Another feature of anamorphosis in Baroque music was the use of operatic material adapted to the needs of the Counter-Reformation, which originated in the Renaissance parody masses, where popular songs were used side-by-side with Gregorian chants as cantus firmi. A later example of this is the contrafactum Pascha Concelebranda of Ambrosius Profe, which was based on a madrigal by Claudio Monteverdi. The double meanings behind these pieces may be hard for modern listeners to discern, though the passionate singing and vibrant instrumental accompaniment of Le Poème Harmonique go far to illuminate the mysteries of the program. Alpha recorded this disc at a studio in Baume-les-Messieurs, France, so the sound is close-up and clean, all the better to hear the plangent cross-relations and ornamented lines with immediacy and clarity.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Domine, Ne In Furore Tuo|
|La Comica del Cielo|
|La Vita humana|