French love Songs from the 13th Century

Variations amoureuses
French love Songs from the 13th Century
Alla Francesca - Brigitte Lesne
Paraty 220 190

Seeming to build directly on the approach in their Thibaut de Champagne album, itself now several years in the past, this later offering from Alla Francesca (again arrayed around Brigitte Lesne) mines "love songs" across period genres, once again mixing in some polyphony, improvisation etc., but still (mostly) centered on monophonic repertory, i.e. that of the trouvères. The French repertory, though, is bolstered by various correspondences & cross-borrowings with the Latin repertory of the time, and this sense of "variation" is then the focus here.

Once again, there's a degree of theatricality that can be both a blessing & something that weighs on subsequent hearings of the same performance, but otherwise the renditions are superb, from singing to instrumentalists, and across a variety of period genres.

Although the specific program choices end up being rather arbitrary, this is still an intriguing survey of material from the era, performed with great experience & attention to detail. Alla Francesca has forged a very appealing style over these many years (& indeed so many prior albums devoted to overlapping repertory...).

To medieval secular list

Todd M. McComb
Updated: 16 June 2021