Tuesday, May 30, 2006


I was pleased to read today (even though it is old news) that L'Arpeggiata will be releasing a new CD later this year - a collaboration with a flamenco guitarist. One of my all-time favourite records is their All'Improvviso - a fresh, beautifully-crafted, inspired and inspiring CD.

When I first heard this music, driving with a friend of mine to a gig in the country with my harpsichord bundled in the back of the station wagon, I realised how close many of the baroque musical forms are to folk music. Gigues, chaconnes, sarabandes - they all stated off as dances, that real people danced to. And they weren't the sedate affairs we have come to know from BBC period dramas. They would have worked up a sweat, the women's hair would have come loose, they would have drunk beer to refresh them and give them spirit for more dancing. Before I encountered All'Improvviso I had never thought that "classical" music could be this alive. These people play 16th and 17th century music with the same energy and vibrancy as the best folk musicians. In their hands this music is not dead, despite the fact that it originated 400 years ago. And they are not afraid to put their own stamp on the music - in fact, a lot of this CD is work composed and improvised by the group themselves. The very first track is a song by Lucilla Galeazzi about the house that she wants to have one day - full of music and friends. You can listen to it here

One of the most amazing things about this CD is the way they have worked with jazz clarinettist Gianluigi Trovesi. Let alone the fact that he is a jazz musician and the rest of the ensemble are trained in early music, the clarinet wasn't even invented until much later on. So it is a completely "foreign" sound for this music, or so one would think. Actually it doesn't stand out at all as out of place, but it certainly does stand out for it's amazingness!!

Anyway, I think this CD is ace :)