GLOSAS – Embellished Renaissance Music
Months ago New York Times music critic Allan Kozinn gave an enthusiastic review to More Hispano‘s debut CD, Yr a oydo (Carpe Diem, 2010). The final paragraph detailed his excitement.
Whereas for most period-instrument bands improvisation means judiciously adding ornaments, Mr. Parilla and company go all out. Raquel Andueza sings the vocal pieces with an appealing, earthy and almost vibrato-free tone and adds inventive vocalise to some of the instrumental workouts. Álvaro Garrido’s vigorous percussion underpinnings have a world-music quality that suits these works. And Mr. Parilla, on recorder, takes turns with the other instrumentalists elaborating on the composers’ melodies, often adding modal touches and varying the rhythms, much as a virtuosic jazz band would do with a group of standards.
There are few, if any, young early music ensembles anywhere receiving such acclaim for a debut recording, the type which rewards musical efforts in ways that can’t be measured. As it turns out, the recording proved to be memorable.
Kozinn recalled More Hispano in a recent panel discussion hosted by Early Music America at the Boston Early Music Festival. The panel, made up of well-known media personalities, focused on the future of early music and what/who was going to sustain it.
Among the various possibilities explored during the allotted hour, Kozinn singled out More Hispano as an example of a group worth noting, who seem to both follow tradition and carve a new path.
If Yr a oydo tackled pure improvisation, the group’s new recording*, Glosas – Embellished Renaissance Music, also on the Carpe Diem label, continues along similar lines but with a serious twist—a total immersion in written-out improvisation from the period, as well as newly-composed embellishments by director and recorder player Vicente Parrilla.
Another recording worth noting.
[*Disclaimer: I provided the English translation for Parrilla’s notes in Glosas.]