The Sollazzo Ensemble's debut recording on Linn presents Italian and French songs of the 14th century in engaging performances in the ornate monophonic vocal style of the late middle ages. The group consists of sopranos Perrine Devillers and Yukie Sato, tenor Vivien Simon, medieval fiddlers Anna Danilevskaia and Sophia Danilevskaia, and harpist Vincent Kibildis, who specialize in late medieval and early Renaissance repertoires and perform the music with remarkable fluency and flair. Their idiomatic renditions of songs by Niccolò da Perugia, Giovanni da Firenze, Francesco Landini, Andrea da Firenze, Solage, Paolo da Firenze, Johannes Ciconia, and Antonio da Teramo, along with several anonymous songs, re-create the court music that developed from the practices of the troubadours and trouvères who flourished in France in the 13th century. These moralizing songs concern behaviors and attitudes of society, and criticize such vices as gossip, slander, and moral laxity, though with a light touch that entertains as much as it edifies. The ensemble's pure instrumental sonorities and virtuosic singing make this album a delightful introduction to medieval music, and the recorded sound makes the listening experience a pleasure.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson