Where does one begin upon contemplating the vast discography of this master guitarist/lutenist? Well, why not let the artist himself guide you? Bream hand-picked his personal favorites for this 10-album collection, a limited-edition set featuring facsimile LPs with original cover artwork and labels as well as a greatly detailed booklet full of discography notes.
You may remember a film from the early 1970s called Henry VIII & his Six Wives, starring Keith Mitchell, Donald Pleasance, and Charlotte Rampling; it was notable for its score, which not only featured authentic music of the period (nearly unheard-of at the time), but also was, according to David Munrow, “the first historical film in which the music has been scored entirely for historical instruments.” Munrow also added a few numbers of his own to satisfy the needs of the movie, patterned after 16th-century style and form. Although these days such attention to authenticity is common, even expected, Munrow was one of the pioneers in bringing musicological research and the more immediate practicalities of really old, original instruments and stylistic practice to the level of popular culture. Of course, also in these early days was planted the impression that period instruments must necessarily be somewhat clunky and (to varying degrees) not quite ideally in tune–and in some cases, just plain annoyingly squawky and prone to obnoxious buzzing noises. While this generally fine issue from Testament offers many reminders of those times, when musicians were still finding their way in unfamiliar territory (and often using very user-unfriendly instruments), this release will prove mostly a delight for early music fans–and will be a real treat for those who own the original LPs from which these tracks were drawn.
A leading vihuela specialist, the Argentinian virtuoso Ariel Abramovich has already devoted two albums to the favourite instrument of the Iberian Renaissance, the first on Arcana (Esteban Daça, El Parnasso, A316, 2002) and the second on Carpe Diem (Diego Pisador, Si me llaman, 2009). For this third instalment he is joined by one of the world’s most respected and innovative solo lutenists, Jacob Heringman, for a vihuela duo project which is the result of years of research and performing. While there is a significant number of publications for two lutes from the sixteenth century, only one of the seven collections for vihuela de mano includes duets, and it is precisely that collection that was the main source of inspiration for this project.
This disc introduces Yo-Yo Ma's latest and most ambitious adventure, the Silk Road Project. It explores the cultures that flourished along the Silk Road, the ancient trade route that for centuries connected Europe and the East. Founded by Ma in 1998, the project aims to create connections, mutual trust, and cultural interchange between people from different parts of the world through their only shared language: music. This recording includes music from Mongolia, China, Persia, Japan, Iran, Azerbaijan, and an improvisation on an Italian Renaissance street song, performed by musicians from all those countries, as well as America, on both Eastern and Western instruments. Ma, who participates in every piece either as soloist or part of the ensemble, plays cello and a Mongolian "horse-head fiddle." There is also a Mongolian soprano, who sings a traditional song native to her region.