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NEW: John Dowland: A Pilgrimes Solace
Dowland's last book of songs, A Pilgrimes Solace, includes some of the finest, most sensitively wrought music for lute and voice in any language, and certainly represents the pinnacle of the English lute song. Published in 1612, music from this book is a capstone of Dowland's output; a mature artistic summation of one of the greatest composers of English song. These were some of the very first pieces we performed together. Now entering our tenth year as a duo, we return to this music with a mature appreciation for the texts Dowland selected and a deeper understanding of his compositional skill.
A Pilgrimes Solace also includes the earliest published example of English song scored for voice, lute and independent obbligato instrumental parts, and we are are delighted to be joined on this project by two sensitive instrumentalists, guest artists Alex Korolov and Alexander Rakov on treble & bass viols.
Sfumato: Musica per voce e liuto del Rinascimento Italiano
This profound and passionate interpretation of the music for solo voice and lute from 16th century Italy is the distillation of Mignarda's delving into the art, literature and music of a people, place and period. The composers represented on this CD - from Tromboncino to Marenzio - flourished based on their skill in setting passionate poetry in the present tense to music that contained a measure of art paired with the pulse of the heart. As with visual art of the period, the superficial meaning might be grasped by the casual observer, but these songs offer a richer, more nuanced experience upon closer examination.
Harmonia Caelestis: 16th century motets by Spanish composers
Our seventh release, this evocative recording highlights the intense devotional imagery of 16th century Spanish composers including Cristóbal de Morales, Francisco Guerrero, and Tomás Luis de Victoria. In returning to the sacred polyphony that brought us together, we have arranged the program as an extended meditation, following the example of our forebears in selecting and adapting the best examples of polyphonic sacred music for private devotions. Originally composed for four or five voices, we present them here in historically sensitive interpretations for solo voice and lute, interspersed with solo lute settings of motets and mass movements.
Au Pres de Vous: French chansons of the 16th century
Our sixth release, this CD explores the important marriage of music, poetry and dance tunes of sixteenth century France. The vocal music includes our own arrangements of chansons and psalm settings with music by Sermisy, Janequin, Crecquillon, Lassus, and our favorite, Philip Van Wilder, inspired by the eloquent grace and the passionate artifice of poets Marot and Ronsard. The sparkling lute solos, include dances from the publications of Attaignant, and exotic gems from Marco dal l'Aquila and 'il divino' Francesco da Milano.
Duo Seraphim: Lute songs and solos for Advent and Christmastide
This very personal selection of music for Advent and Christmastide represents many traditions ranging from the 12th to the 18th centuries. Featuring our own arrangements for lute and voice of many familiar and traditional English, Irish, French, and German carols, juxtaposed with a few favorite Latin motets, Scots tunes, and one Italian lauda set to a very special poem by Petrarch.
Duo Seraphim is dedicated to our many friends and supporters in the hope that it may brighten the spirit of the season for years to come.
La Rota Fortuna: Chansons & lute solos in honor of Francesco Spinacino, fl. 1507
This beguiling program of chansons and lute solos from circa 1507 is offered as an homage to Francisco Spinacino on the 500th anniversary of his pioneering efforts in publishing the very first printed music for lute: Intabulatura de lauto (Petrucci, Venice, 1507). Themes involving the cyclical nature of Fortune, which permeated poetical and philosophical writings from antiquity onwards, are featured conspicuously in the chanson texts, sparkling and complex rondeaux brilliantly set by the likes of Ockeghem, Busnoys, and the comparatively modern Josquin des Prez. Called "essential listening" by the Lute Society (UK).
My Lord of Oxenford's Maske: Edward de Vere and his circle
Our third release features 16th century English songs with poetry attributed to Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, and lute solos with dedications bearing his name. Rounding out the collection are several lute solos and duets from the famous Folger lute manuscript, and familiar favorites sure to please lovers of Shakespeare, Dowland, and all things Elizabethan, including Greensleeves and The Willow Song. Selected by Cleveland classical radio station WCLV as a Choice CD.
2009 Winner, Best Classical/Vocal Album, JPF Awards
A selection of the haunting and lovely tunes of the early 17th century French court known as airs de cour. These songs were the pop music of their day, and their poetic themes dwell upon one of three subjects: unrequited love, the sometimes inexplicable interactions of mythological deities, or idyllic scenes of nymphs and shepherds. We add to the mix a few psalm settings that would have been sung and played for private domestic entertainment 400 years ago. This music has proven particularly accessible to modern audiences, and many people have told us that it conjures a moment of serenity in their otherwise hectic lives. Also selected by Cleveland classical radio station WCLV as a Choice CD.
Our first release, this demo-length CD includes a selection of English and French music by John Dowland, Thomas Campion, Nicolas Vallet, Robert Ballard, and two settings of the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay by composer Orlando Pizzicato.