And on this adventurous program styles and composers are mixed, but following the natural scenario provided by the office of matins for Christmas Day, and continuing through the entire Christmas cycle. However, the music is confined for reasons of space on the disc to the celebration of Christmas rather than the Epiphany. Musically every means has been used: plainchant, on its own or alternating with polyphony, which parodies it, fauxbourdons (a contrapuntal technique marked by parallel progressions in thirds and sixths), the motet in grand polyphonic responses, as well as popular songs about the birth of Jesus(example on this disc is a 22 minute delightful ensalada "La trulla". Musically, we are moving away from the Middle Ages, but have not yet become completely Baroque. The featured composers are: Padilla, Victoria, Fernandez, Morales , Cristo, Brito and Guerrero.
The Ensemble La Colombina, founded in 1990, was named after a late 15th century music volume, now preserved at Seville's Colombina library. Cosmopolitan and very Latin in character, the ensemble consists of an Argentinean, an Italian and two Catalans, specializing in Renaissance and early Baroque music,religious as well as secular, and singing mostly a cappella. The singing is more than noteworthy; it is superb. I think I would buy absolutely anything this group sang no matter what the genre. In 1996 La Colombina was a quartet as it is on this recording; the singers are: Maria Cristina Kiehr(soprano), Claudio Cavina (male alto), Josep Benet (tenor) and Josep Cabre (baritone). Whether soloing or in combination their sound borders on the 'divine'. The accompanying booklet includes good information in German and English. The text is translated from the Latin and Spanish to English.
Originally issued in 2003, it is now budget priced. It appears on the website with two different titles:"In Natalie Domini" and 'Christmas in Spain.',, The recordings are one and the same. However, there are many different pricings; so check it out before making a decision.
Two reviews: EARLY MUSIC REVIEW, December, 2013.: " This is a charming selection of vocal music...The performances are in general rhythmically alive and musically sure-footed. La Colombina are an experienced group who have music in their collective souls and respond to every nuance of the text..."
INTERNATIONAL RECORD REVIEW: "A hugely important CD....Superlatively well performed by the a cappella group La Colombina and very well recorded....the CD brought home to me the musical equivalent of art which has endured in merit alone and is worthy of wider dissemination...This is one of the finest CDs I have heard all year."
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