Nuits Occitanes

Nuits Occitanes
Troubadours' Songs
Ensemble Céladon - Paulin Bündgen
Ricercar 340

This is a recent & enjoyable troubadour anthology, both as regards program & interpretation. It includes many "hits" of the repertory, particularly as revolves around the acts of lovemaking themselves. These include some of my favorite songs of the period.

The approach to interpretation reflects thinking here in 2014 rather well, with a more understated approach to rhythmic declamation, and accompaniment that sometimes adds polyphonic embellishment. The latter is done in an idiomatic style, easily believable and without distracting from the main melody. Instrumental technique, including percussion, is also sensitive, offering some dance-like interludes.

One area that detracts a bit from my enjoyment is the modern approach to breath support, which (as I've had occasion to complain in the past) gives the singing more of a self-conscious element. This is difficult to avoid, however, and the vocal parts are quite well-executed other than this issue.

Altogether, this is easily the most compelling recording of the heart of the troubadour repertory from recent years.

To medieval secular list

Todd M. McComb