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Catherine Bott Convivencia

fred-label.com FREDCD1

This is an intriguing CD of undiscovered songs from 15th century Spain, in which Catherine Bott, in superb vibrato-free voice, presents herself as singer, actress and linguist, supported by colleagues on Spanish and Moorish instruments. There are songs, instrumental solos and poetry recitations, all joined in satisfying sequence and well recorded with close miking.

The downside is ludicrously atrocious presentation, with an arts designer gone mad! The text is unreadably and inexcusably miniscule and the wastage of space unsurpassable! Some four of the twelve pages could have been recovered easily, and one wonders if the artists had any control over the final version of the booklet; q.v. my article CD Insert Booklets in which it features as a prime example of how not to do it.

There is a very nice full page photo of Ms Bott and pointlessly another, crudely cropped as illustrated above, which is redundant. Fred's website has Catherine Bott's introductory essay; there you can re-size it to read comfortably on line.

But not so with the many reviews, copied and pasted in on the web pages as images, and as unreadable as in the insert booklet itself, in which there are no track times; off-putting for radio presenters...

I was glad to discover (by chance, many woudn't) that the Arabic texts (only) can be found at http://www.fred-label.com/index.php?mode=artists&id=3. The entire texts of the booklet, with the introductory notes to each item, should be put onto the website* pronto; until then, Musical Pointers warns against purchase of this tantalising CD.

Peter Grahame Woolf

*A reader points out that the production team should appreciate that a high % of classical music lovers STILL don't use the Internet AT ALL; some just use it for their e-mail and don't surf [EDITOR]