By JUAN CARLOS ASCENSIO
A large proportion of the repertoire at the dawn of the 15th century, especially the works knows as chansons, originated in the Burgundian tradition. Testimony to this are the chansonniers conserved, many with suggestive forms, such as the well-known Chansonnier Cordiforme, whose cordate or heart-shape form (hence it’s name) serves as the cover of the present recording. The Asteria duo embarks on a short journey (very short, with slightly over half an hour of music) through this repertoire, represented by well-known composers such as Guillaume Dufay and Gilles Binchois (the outstanding composers of the period) and lesser-known composers today such as Robert Morton and Johannes Stahl. Asteria’s interpretations are very clear in their approach. Despite their youth, this duo combines perfectly. The sweetness of Sylvia Rhyne’s voice blends perfectly in with the lutenist in the duets. However, in the solo lute pieces, the attacks are somewhat brusque. The inclusion of Juan Vázquez’s well-known piece De los álamos vengo, madre is somewhat surprising. It slightly postdates the rest of the works, although it is appropriate to the title of the recording. A certain license is taken with the performance, which is sometimes too imaginative, in contrast to the rest of the Burgundian works. Nevertheless, Asteria’s sound is captivating and intimate, which makes listening to this disc a pleasant experience.
vol. 37, December 2005