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Duo Seraphim: Lute songs and solos for Advent and Christmastide Single

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Single, December 10, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Review

CD REVIEW: DUO SERAPHIM: Lute songs and solos for Advent and Christmastide This is a delightful and original selection of music for the festive season. It includes a mix of well-known carols and not-so-familiar vocal pieces appropriate to Advent and Christmas combined with aptly chosen lute solos, mostly dating from the earlier part of the 16th century. The highlights include Tromboncino's setting of Petrarch's 'Vergine bella', rather less well known than that of Dufay perhaps but just as moving, and arrangements of two motets by Victoria, 'Ne timeas Maria' and 'Magi viderunt stellam' for voice with lute accompaniment in the best tradition of the vihuelistas.

Stewart has a beautifully pure, almost choirboy like soprano. The opening track, 'Veni, Emanuel', in two parts presumably created by multi-tracking, sets a mood of introspective calm which prevails throughout. Stewart's ornamentation of the vocal line in Victoria's 'Ne timeas, Maria' is exquisite and her interpretation of Tromboncino brings out the intensity of religious devotion, but also subdued passion inherent in Petrarch's poetry. Some of the more traditional numbers, such as 'The Angel Gabriel' and 'Josef, lieber, Josef mein' could perhaps have been a bit livelier to make a contrast but overall the performances are flawless with such perfect clarity of diction that reference to any liner notes is superfluous. The lute solos include original pieces by Francesco da Milano, Marco dal l'Aquila and Dalza together with skillful and convincing arrangements of an anonymous English 'In nomine' and Victoria's motet 'Duo Seraphim'. The original version of the latter is unusually but appropriately scored for S.S.A.A., the voices being paired in a way that suggests the two seraphim crying out to one another. I wasn't sure whether the arrangement was actually for two Ron Andricos, or just one managing some very elaborate counterpoint but either way the piece was worked very convincingly. Andrico plays two different lutes, one in E and the other in G, as far as I could make out the smaller one being used for the solo work and the larger to accompany. The smaller one has a particularly appealing tone quality.

The liner notes which come with the CD are very brief, supplying the words and translations of the vocal pieces only if the original is not in English. There is a note saying that full texts and programme notes are available on the duo's website although I couldn't find these when I visited it. However it seems that they were the victims of a particularly nasty carjacking in which a large number of their CDs were stolen and are now being offered for sale by dodgy outlets. So if you decide to purchase it, it would be best to do so through a reputable source.

The CD would make the ideal Christmas gift for lutenists and anyone who prefers to celebrate the season of peace and goodwill far from the madding crowd of commercialism. --Monica Hall in Lute News, newsletter of the Lute Society (UK), Number 88, December 2008

As a jaded and sated holiday listener, I am drawn to anything lacking in kitsch, and there is nothing I've heard this season further from the manufactured art of American Christmas than Duo Seraphim. Surely, this is listening to holiday music without listening to "holiday music"...There are a lot of ways to get at the holiday spirit; Duo Seraphim has chosen the road less traveled, putting together a unique and substantial collection of latinesque works, adorned only with voice and lute. --Richard Banks at Christmascdreviews.com

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Product Details

  • Performer: Mignarda lute song duo, Ron Andrico, Donna Stewart, Mignarda
  • Orchestra: Mignarda
  • Conductor: none
  • Composer: Tomás Luis de Victoria, Marco dall'Aquila, Francesco da Milano, Leonhard Schroeter, Joan Ambrosio Dalza, et al.
  • Audio CD (December 10, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Single
  • Label: Mignarda
  • ASIN: B001J0OTP2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #425,170 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Beautiful voice and lute used by the Divine Office app.
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So relaxing and just what a busy person needs!
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Slightly haunting soprano solos and duets. Some of the darker melodies could use a bit more haunting. Note: the version of Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence is the Roman Catholic version ("Christ our God to earth descendeth"), not the Protestant version ("God within his temple dwelleth".)
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the title says it all. Get this CD if you love great Latin, meditative singing and beautiful lute playing. BEAUTIFUL.
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