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Elizabethan Ballads, Ayres & Dances

Hannah Morrison Voyce
Dominik Schneider – Flutes, Gittern & Voyce
Mark Wheeler – Lutes, Gittern & Cittern

Totentanz TOT 23046 [74 minutes – 2006]

Order from http://www.pantagruel.de/mp3eng.html

Come liue with me and be my loue;  Eliza is the fairest Queene;  Joy to the person of my love;  Daphne;  O thou silver Thames; Fair angel of England; The Buzzeinge Bee’s Complaynt; Ale & Tobacco; What fid breake thee;  A late regrate of Leirning to Love; Ring out your bells!

To quote from the sleeve note: “Pantagruel have been delighting audiences across Europe with their semi-staged performances … and bring to life the passionate music of a distant (renaissance) age.” 

I haven’t had the good luck to witness one of Pantagruel's performances,* but as far as I can judge, this CD brings together a representative collection of their work. 

The instrumental playing is lively and enthusiastic, and I found myself tapping a foot in time with the infectious rhythms.  

Hannah Morrison’s voice is exceptional pure and entirely in keeping with the style of the period, but the combination of renaissance wording (as evidenced by the spelling of the song titles above) and fairly heavily accented pronunciation, makes it difficult to follow the words without the aid of the printed texts. These are supplied, in well laid out form, in the accompanying booklet.There are 11 grouped blocks of songs **, with the selection well contrasted.

This is music to entertain or relax with, maybe not intended to be analysed in depth.  As such it is completely successful, and will stand up to repeated listening.

Serena Fenwick

Note: Pantagruel now has some attractive, substantial video clips of their new programme on line, well filmed in Islington, London from a Spring 2008 English tour; these confirm my opinion that theirs is essentially a visual show, and that a DVD in due course is to be welcomed.

See and Enjoy! http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=31103044 and http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=31161385 [Editor]

* See http://www.musicalpointers.co.uk/festivals/uk/GreenwichEMF_Nov07.html#pg

** I chanced to discover that there is a short secret extra track some minutes after the music of track No XI Ring out your bells! finishes.

The first clue is that if whilst listening you watch on your player "time elapsed" and "time still to play" as the numbers go down, you will find that the music goes silent for some minutes before resuming with the closing item - I am informed that you mostly get such hidden tracks on rock records.

The other clue is that the words of that final Farewell can be found on the back of the booklet !

The illustated, and typographically attractive, booklet provides no information about the sources or Pantagruel's intentions, that open-endedness deliberate so that you are not burdened with received opinion but instead should think for yourself. That austerity extends to not supplying track times at all, whether of individual songs or the linked blocks, which may dissuade radio programmers from choosing to play these delightful songs on air?

Another Pantagruel CD is promised for next year. [Editor]

Now released Laydie Louthians Lilte :
reviewed at http://www.musicalpointers.co.uk/reviews/cddvd08/PantagruelScotland.html