While a program of works for soprano plus a pair of fiddlers might seem unlikely to succeed with a larger audience, soprano Catherine Bott and fiddlers Pavlo Beznosiuk and Mark Levy, taking their performing repertoire from the twelfth through fifteenth centuries and their interpretative stance from pop music, make Delectatio angeli riveting from start to finish. Opening with Bott alone and very close to the microphone singing a doleful anonymous thirteenth century "Prisoner's Song" and followed by Beznosiuk and Levy overdubbed to create a fiddle octet playing a delightful anonymous thirteenth century "English Dance," the program immediately grabs the listener's attention and never lets go. Bott's voice is a powerful instrument and she's not afraid to use it. The disc bears the subtitle "Music of love, longing & lament" and Bott's performances are as much about expressing the meaning of the lyrics as the meaning of the music. Her interpretations range from the serene to the sensual to the hilarious and she is fully engaged -- and fully engaging -- in all of them. Beznosiuk, known for his recordings on period violin with the Hanover Band and the Monteverdi Consort, and Levy, known for his recordings on period violin with Philip Pickett and with his own Concordia Ensemble, perform superbly together either as a duo or as a trio with Bott. Recorded in Angel Studio, London, and produced by Steve Price, Hyperion's sound is distinctly different from its more classical releases, more experimental, more immediate, and much more intimate. While not for every classical listener, Delectatio angeli could succeed with a larger audience.
AllMusic Review by James Leonard