March 8, 2011

First Listen: Trio Mediaeval, 'A Worcester Ladymass' (Ashalen Sims, 3/07/11, NPR)

The members of Norway's Trio Mediaeval have a pure, lustrous sound that's perfect for the ancient works they sing. After a foray into folk music on 2007's Folk Songs, they've returned to the Middle Ages for their fifth album, on which they dig up a collection of florid polyphonic music from the 13th century.

The material on this recording was uncovered at a Benedictine abbey in Worcester, England. It's purely accidental that the music survived — most of it was used as binding for other books and codices. Trio Mediaeval went through these fragments and, using other sources from the period, reconstructed a 13th-century votive Mass. From a lengthy "Kyrie" to the minute-long "Beata Viscera," the music they collected honors the Virgin Mary, who was highly venerated by the Worcester monks.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 8, 2011 6:37 AM
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