For The Revels' 2017 release, Tutta Bella!, Megan Henderson leads the multifaceted arts ensemble in a joyful imagining of a Venetian Christmas, offering a variety of Renaissance songs and instrumental pieces. The enthusiasm and energy that went into producing this recording speak to the company's continued dedication to promoting world music through lively and engaging performances, and the varied program reflects the myriad sources of Italian music that could be heard in the 14th and 15th centuries. Traditional songs, choruses, and folk dances of the period are mixed with pieces by Giovanni Gabrieli, Claudio Monteverdi, Adriano Banchieri, Adrian Willaert, Jacob Arcadelt, Girolamo Frescobaldi, and other composers whose music is associated with Venice and Christmas. The period instruments and idiomatic vocal styles show that The Revels pay close attention to historical details, but the lively performances keep the music fresh and spontaneous, avoiding any dryness or didacticism. While this re-creation isn't based on a specific event, it provides a reasonable presentation of popular music in Renaissance Italy, and works well as a complement to modern holiday celebrations.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson