Alpha Classics' Metamorfosi Trecento is a representative collection of late medieval vocal and instrumental pieces on the subject of transformation, harking back to classical myths of mysterious lands, magical powers, and the shape-shifting creatures of Homer, Ovid, and other ancient sources. The tales of Narcissus, Daphne, Philomela, Orpheus, and Callisto were integral to the poetry and music of the Ars Nova and the Ars Subtilior, and composers as diverse as Francesco Landini, Paolo da Firenze, Philippe de Vitry, Solage, Guillaume de Machaut, and Jacopo da Bologna, among others, contributed to the body of secular works that celebrated the supernatural. Medieval lutenist Michele Pasotti and his ensemble La Fonte Musica explore this repertoire with infectious energy and polished execution, and the complexity of the songs' interlocking parts and highly ornamented lines allows the musicians to display their extraordinary virtuosity and personality. The program's focus on polyphonic songs makes it a showcase for the talents of sopranos Francesca Cassinari and Alena Dantcheva, tenor Gianluca Ferrarini, and baritone Mauro Borgioni, who sing with precision and purity of tone. In addition to the mostly vocal program, the anonymous Tre Fontane and Strinçe la Man by Bartolino da Padova are instrumental tracks that highlight the group's scintillating mix of lute, fiddles, recorder, clavicymbalum, and Gothic harp. Highly recommended for medievalists and aficionados of the fantastic in music.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson