Review: Catacoustic Consort collaborates 

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click to enlarge Annalisa Pappano, a viol player in Catacoustic Consort.
  • Annalisa Pappano, a viol player in Catacoustic Consort.

Lest we make unwarranted presumptions about today's pop currents, traditional love music from many historical periods has its own bawdy elements. On Friday, we heard a complete sampling of these from the late 16th / early 17th centuries by two groups playing as one: The Catacoustic Consort, with bass violist Joanna Blendulf and treble violist and lirone player Annalisa Pappano--and Gut, Wind and Wire with our own IEM artistic director Mark Cudek playing the cittern, Renaissance guitar and bass viol; lutenist Mark McFarlane; and Mindy Rosenfeld playing the flutes, pipes and harp. Soprano Elizabeth Hungerford provided the lyrics when called for.

The program's first half, in three sets, derived from the English Renaissance, allowing us to interpret the lyrics while sung. Perhaps the best known of these (and previously heard in this series) is Thomas D'Urfey's song "My Thing is my own" -- and means exactly what you think it does. With a lovely, pitch-perfect voice, Hungerford assures us that the girl intends to remain chaste till her wedding night, with verses such as: "A master of music came with intent, To give me a lesson on my instrument. I thanked him for nothing, and bid him be gone, For my little fiddle must not be played on." The audience seemed audibly pleased.

The second half featured Spanish and Italian Renaissance numbers in four sets, including a very early setting of "Ave Maria" by Bartolomeo Tromboncino (c1470-c1535), the oldest music on the program. None of the composers were familiar to me till we arrived at Claudio Monteverdi, two of his songs closing out the evening. They are translated as: "So sweet is the torment" and "Fair damsel, pour that fine wine."

Both vocal and instrumental work throughout the two-hours was exemplary. June 30; Indiana History Center

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Tom Aldridge

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