Trio Mediaeval

Record Review

Trio Mediaeval

Words of the Angel (ECM) What's the first thing you think of when you hear Gregorian chants? Sure, incense, candle shadows, and high-ceiling cathedrals. But don't you also invariably picture mendicant monks, that is, only men? Thank the church establishment for that, since women's sacred music was restricted in the Middle Ages. This is one reason that Words of the Angel, a collection of female-sung mono- and polyphonic European songs from the 1200-1300s, is worthwhile. Merit for this debut is also earned by the vocal gifts of Norwegian sopranos Anna Maria Friman, Linn Andrea Fuglseth, and Torunn Østrem Ossum. Nearly a third of Words of the Angel's 20 tracks originate from a 14th-century mass manuscript, while the rest are motets and songs from the same period, including three tracks where each vocalist shines in a solo light. "Credo" finds the trio's voices flowing and intermingling like three spring sparrows in flight, and their intonation on "Sanctus" is as clean and clear as Waterford crystal. The sheer vocal dynamics of the title track -- composed especially for Trio Mediaeval by English composer Ivan Moody (who studied with John Tavener) -- would make Leonardo da Vinci's jaw drop. Words of the Angel was astutely recorded in Evangelische Kirche in Gönningen, Germany, and possesses that rich cathedral reverb. Perhaps the last remarkable thing about Words of the Angel is that it's taken eight centuries to take flight. Then again, when one thinks of an angel, a woman usually comes to mind.

****

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Sunday ACL Fest 2019 Record Reviews
Rosalía
El Mal Querer (Record Review)

Christina Garcia, Oct. 4, 2019

Texas Platters
Atlas Maior
Riptide (Record Review)

Michael Toland, June 14, 2019

More by David Lynch
Rock & Roll Summer Reading
How Can I Keep From Singing?: The Ballad of Pete Seeger

May 30, 2008

Texas Platters
That Damned Band
999 Surreal Eyes (Record Review)

Feb. 15, 2008

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Trio Mediaeval

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle