In this graceful disc, the duo Asteria, winners of EMA’s 2004 Medieval/Renaissance Performance Competition, invite the listener to imagine the musical world of Burgundy, concentrating on works that were associated with the court of Philip the Good (1396-1467).
Ths Burgundian chanson of the 15th century generally featured refined poetry celebrating the ideal of courtly love cast in a delicate, three-part melodic fabric with one prominent, exquisite tune. There is perhaps no more beautiful example than “Adieu Ces Bon Vins De Lannoys” by Guillaume Dufay (c.1400-1474), especially in Asteria’s sweet and heartfelt rendition.
Throughout, the blend of Sylvia Rhyne’s soprano and Eric Redlinger’s tenor with lute is both crystal clear and warm, but the solo works create an even more intimate feeling. For Gilles Binchois’s “Pour Prison,” solo voice and lute lend directness to the poetry. “Dona Gentile” by Dufay, is heard as a lute solo, pulling the audience in even closer.
In addition to the French music, Asteria includes a tiny Spanish gem by Juan Vasqauez (c.1500-1560) and a folksong-like German work. As attractive as the better-known French repertoire, these songs refresh with their more casual structure. Rhyne and Redlinger bring out the beauty of this repertoire with warmth and grace and make it very alive indeed.
vol. 11, No. 4, Winter, 2005