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1) O Virgo Splendens

2) Stella Splendens

3) Laudemus Virginem

4) Sing Together (instrumental)

5) Polorum Regina

6) Imperayritz de la Ciutat Joyosa

7) Splendens Ceptigera

8) The Seven Joys (instrumental)

9) Mariam Matrem Virginem

10) Cuncti Simus Concanentes

11) Los Set Gotxs

12) The Empress (instrumental)

13) Ad Mortem Festinamus.


Prepare yourself for the ultimate medieval pilgrimage with the early music collective Bartholomew Faire's debut CD The Red Book.

The Red Book features all ten songs from Montserrat Monastery Library's Manuscript #1, popularly called Llibre Vermell ("The Red Book") because of the red velvet cover given to the codex during the late 19th century. The songs in this remarkable medieval manuscript were written down during the late 14th century, selected by the monks of Montserrat as being appropriate for the pilgrims who made their way to the shrine to the Virgin Mary there. Since this was a time when dancing was an acceptable form of worship, the manuscript indicates several of these songs as 'round dances' and are played as such with the usual Bartholomew Faire aplomb: driving rhythms, arcane instruments, flights of improvisational ornamentation and lusty vocals.

There are several styles of medieval music represented in The Red Book. The disc opens with a fascinating plainchant which turns into a round with unusual harmonies. "Stella Splendens" is a grand processional. "Laudemus Virginem" and "Splendens Ceptigera" are minimal compositions with amazing arrangement and improvisational possiblilties. "Polorum Regina" and "Los Set Gotxs" are presented as hypnotic trance music, while "Cuncti Simus Concanentes" and the various instrumentals are driving dance tunes. The disc concludes with the oldest surviving danse macabre (dance of death): "Ad Mortem Festinamus."

Bartholomew Faire, directed by Stefan Dollak, was formed in 1996 (then called "Musica Ficta") as an open-ended early music performance group dedicated to presenting medieval and renaissance music with lively authenticity. Bartholomew Faire focuses on the unwritten aspects of ancient music performance, such as interpretation, improvisation and interpolation (fleshing out minimal fragments of music). Stefan selects and arranges the repertory in thematic and symbolic ways, using aspects of contemporary disciplines like medieval numerology, astronomy, literature and popular culture to devise a logical sequence to Bartholomew Faire's presentation of ancient music.


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1) Childgrove

2) Goddesses

3) Branle des Chavaliers

4) Antidotum Tarantulae/Tarantela

5) Miss Hamilton

6) Mabel Kelly

7) Carolan's Receipt

8) Cremonea

9) Allemande & Saltarello

10) Tourdion: Quand je Bois

11) Cantiga 180

12) Cantiga 100

13) Cantiga 26

14) Schiarazula Marazula

15) Andalusian Ground


Bartholomew Faire’s long-awaited second recording is, as the title suggests, a disparate selection of the group’s favorite ‘jam-session’ tunes, ranging from 13th century Spain through 16th century France, to 17th century England and 18th century Ireland. Pipe & tabor, Gothic bagpipes, harp, lute, medieval hurdy-gurdies (symfony and organistrum), recorders, mandolin, the Arabic al’ud, capped shawm, and other arcane instruments are all complimented by a galaxy of exotic percussion.

Many of these pieces are classic “Renaissance Faire” faves, like “Branle des Chevaliers” and “Schiarazula Marazula,” then there are some fairly lesser-known gems, like Carolan’s “Cremonea,” and “Cantiga 180.” Styles range from the “Renaissance Loud Band” sound of “Goddesses,” with mighty Gothic bagpipes, pipe & tabor, shawm, Kelhorn and driving percussion, to the gentle Celtic mandolin, harp and recorder of “Miss Hamilton” by Carolan’s contemporary Mr Cornelius Lyons; from the straight-up Renaissance jump of Schein’s “Allemande & Saltarello,” to the exotic Muslim/Christian/Jewish Spain of Alfonso X, the wise Astronomer-King of Leon and Castile, and his monumental Cantigas de Santa Maria, featuring al’ud, dumbek and bladder-pipe.

Stefan Mark Dollak played the lute, mandolin, medieval hurdy-gurdies (symfony and organistrum), pipe & tabor, pipe & string drum, recorders, Kelhorn, krummhorn, capped-reed shawm and the bladder-pipe.

Louis Rodriguez played the al’ud, medieval citole and Gothic bagpipe.

Danielle Franklin played the Gothic harp.

David Newton played assorted frame drums, bendir, cajon, medieval bass drum, spring and ocean drums, doumbek, riq, and hand claps. David also recorded, mixed and mastered this CD.




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