Concert Review: Barbara Furtuna at the Lotus World Music & Arts Festival



My introduction to Barbara Furtuna, a male vocal quartet that specializes in Corsican polyphony, came from listening to a recent recording, Via Crucis—featuring ensemble L’Arpeggiata and their usual brand of early seventeenth century repertoire, plus pieces specially arranged for the two groups. It’s an impressive CD for the imaginative programming which extends beyond the typical early music repertoire. L’Arpeggiata has been pushing boundaries for years now into crossover/world music and earning well-deserved acclaim.

When I saw that Barbara Furtuna was on the schedule of this year’s Lotus World Music & Arts Festival, I knew I couldn’t miss it.

The program had a couple of overall themes—sacred and devotional works (requiem excerpts and Marian songs), and secular songs about love (and its many varieties)—sung in Latin and what I presumed to be Corsican. There was no program published, so it was difficult to really know what they were singing about, but it didn’t matter, the intensity and expression kept me mesmerized through the entire performance.

Like any terrific group, Barbara Furtuna is good on recording and even better live. They have a tight, husky, and masculine sound with a color that I can only describe as melancholy. Their attitude is one of veneration, their singing more like prayer, and their body language borders on ecstasy and often comes across as erotic—a powerful combination of attributes which made for a very moving concert.

Learn more: visit Barbara Furtuna website or Lotus website.
Watch: Barbara Furtuna and L’Arpeggiata in a recording session.
Buy: Via Crucis

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