AMOREI
Auto-production, 2004
AMOREI is a collection of medieval music and songs which, as in the previous work, was inspired by one of the five natural elements. Whereas water was the theme dealt with in “Aqua Mater”, in this work we were guided by the opposite element: fire, meaning passion, courage and purity. Love, the universal wheel around which human existence rotates, is admirably treated in these pieces and even now, after centuries, they still release the power hidden within the metrical and musical compositions. We have tried to honour their courage and sing about love in all its forms: for a woman, for friendship, and for the divine. As each journey brings new adventures to those who travel and rewards them with new horizons, we, while working on the arrangements, have received intuition and sensations which have given new life to those texts and music which have remained immobile for so long. “Amors me fait commencier a nouvelle chançon”, says the text with the same name, explaining perfectly how love generates deeds, as if everything is possible for love!

>Reviews
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1. Selh que no vol
Raimon de Miraval, (? – 1220) – troubadour
2. Eno sagrado en Vigo

martim codax - cantiga de amigo – XIII sec.
3. La reina xerifa
anonimo sefardita
4. A madre de Jhesu Christo
cantiga de santa maria – XIII sec.
5. Mia yrmana fremosa

martim codax - cantiga de amigo – XIII sec.
6. M’entensio/Devetka
peirol - troubadour – XII sec
7. Ay Deus

martim codax - cantiga de amigo – XIII sec.
8. Deux est aussi comme li pellicans
thibaud de navarre (1201-1253) – trouvère
9. Lanqan li jorn
jaufre rudel (1120-1147?) – troubadour
10. Amors me fait commencier

thibaud de navarre (1201-1253) – trouvère
11. Mariam matrem virginem

llibre Vermell de montserrat – XIV sec.


"Selh que no vol/Eno sagrado en Vigo"
full download (mp3 1,2 MB)
Catia Gianessi:
voice, tamburello, tammorra, claves.
Gabriele Bonvicini:
hurdy-gurdy, nyckelharpa, bouzouki, voice, claps.
Massimo La Zazzera:
recorder, bansuri, chalumeaux, shawm, bouzouki, voice, claps.
Igor Niego:
Kaval, bulgarian bagpipe, zarb, def, riqq, tamburello, voice.
Walter Rizzo:
bombarde, tarota, hurdy-gurdy, voce.
Roberto Romagnoli:
tapan, daf, djembè, oudu drum, madalam, voice.

...and:
Peter Rabanser: voice, claps.
Gianluca Lo Presti: voice.



•Reviews

From “Folk Bulletin”, April 2005
Four years on from “Aqua Mater”; dedicated to water and to Mother Earth, the ensemble Musica Officinalis returns with “Amorei” dedicated as the booklet says, “ to fire, intense like passion, courage, purity.”.
It is another excellent disc that confirms what has already been said, it is enough to listen to deeply understand this most interesting ensemble navigating between the medieval and the traditional, the “Cantiga de Amigo” of Martim Codax, “Mia yrmana fremosa” and the troubadour’s “M’entensio”.
Musica Officinalis’ arrangements for these pieces are quite astonishing in their originality, for their perfection and for the splendid results. The first, a cappella, with the voice of Catia Gianessi accompanied surprisingly by a chorus of tenors, the second, an instrumental composed by the French Peirol, is transformed on listening almost into a Bulgaro-Macedonian dance thanks to the gaida of Igor Niego. Apart from these two tracks, signalling what is almost a declaration of intent by the group, the disc makes you appreciate not only the accurate choice of repertoire (from Cantigas De Santa Maria to Llibre Vermell De Montserrat, to the already mentioned Cantigas de Amigo to the works of the troubadours) but also the choice of instrumentation, with medieval hurdy-gurdy, percussions and cromorno alongside the traditional gaida and kaval (Balkan), the djemba and oudu (African drum), the riqq and the daf (Arab), the bombarda (Breton) and the bouzouki and nickelharpa.
Alessandro Nobis

From “World Music Magazine” N°76 January/February 2006
A musical corpus like the medieval one, the sefardit music , the cantigas and the troubadour repertoire, nowadays permits a wide sort of interpretations, whether they are extremely true or nearly completely different from the original music context.
Musica Officinalis' proposal is very interesting and finds itself, by a choice of the group, between philological and “modern” point of view.
Following the trend of influence of styles, proper to the “Cantigas de Santa Maria” of King Alfonso Xth The Wise, Musica Officinalis mixes the 11 pieces of “Amorei” with a range of elements coming from different kind of music. An unusual rhythmic component is shown up with a big interest for the most traditional vocal polyphonies, for the uneven beats and the Balkan sounds.
Francesco Patruno


From www.mescalina.it, 2005
http://www.mescalina.it/musica/recensioni/recensioni-musica.php?id=1054
Amorei is a collection of medieval chants and music in which, as in the previous work, the inspiration of one of the 5 elements of nature, was fundamental. If water was the theme of “Aqua Mater” in this work we are led by the opposite element “fire”. Fire as in passion, courage, purity. The universal engine around which revolves all human existence, love comes admirably treated on this disc, the hidden strength of metrical and musical composition bursts forth again from centuries long passed. We wanted to honour their courage and sing love in all its forms, for a woman, for a friend, for the divine. And as each journey brings with it new adventures giving, unknown horizons so we who dare, during the work of rearrangement received intuition and sensations that re-gave life to those writings and to that music by then lost in time.
“Amors Me Fait Commencier A Nouvelle Chanson” tells an anonymous tale, explaining perfectly how love brings forth new exploits, as for love everything is possible.
Amorei continues with a study of the most virtuous ideal of music, that which sings of divine experience, through its human form: where the previous work concentrated on water as the maternal source of life, here everything revolves around a love which even at its most passionate remains equally as pure. The proposal is as radical as it is clear, as strict as it is kind: we are faced not with mere musicians but with trained instrumentalists who carry forward contemporaneously other projects and studies on their own instruments. Do not think of an evocation of medieval music, because here music is not just a costume, a reproduction similar to the original. Musica Officinalis research and rearrange with painstaking competence and professionalism.
As much as the instruments sound “new”, that is “unknown” to the average listener, so too are the structures of the pieces intriguing and complex.
Bausuri, chalumeaux, kaval, gaida, zarb, def, riqq, tapan hurdy-gurdy, madalam, are curious not only in their names yet: each is brought to life strikingly on the disc.
They may be ahead of their time, but the objective of Musica Officinalis is to make medieval music sound modern.
The open minded way they face the material keeps the music from having any exotic or touristic flavour.
Cantiga de amigo e cantiga de santa maria develop in polyphonic games, as in a dance.
A fine example is the melodic sweetness of “Ay Deus” which in comparison makes the spirituality of Madredeus and many other ensembles seem commercial.
“Amorei” is a work of numerous variations which while lacking original material interprets the work of troubadours and trouvères with a vitality reserved for the singer songwriters who have left their mark on a more recent generation.
Musica Officinalis probably will not reach the visibility that others have earned through their greater accessibility but be glad at the thought that there exists such an idealistic and concrete project.
Christian Verzelletti


From www.pedorra.it, 2004
“Pauc vaulqui on es enveios e qui non dezira pus car, e qui non s’entremet d’amar. Greu pot esser galhart ni pros, car d’Amors ven gaug e ven bes, e per Amor es hom cortes e Amors dona l’art e’l genenh per que bon pretz troba m’antenh».
Formed in 1997 Musica Officinalis offer a journey exploration crossing ancient music and peoples. In this, their second C.D. they face a voyage of love and passion through the element of fire, intense, like passion, courage and purity. Previously they were led by the element water in the opposite “Aqua Mater”. The C.D. takes into consideration the medieval tradition of France and Spain trough troubadours and trouvères, sefardit chants, cantigas de amigo and Santa Maria,
Llibre Vermell de Montserrat and thanks to intense voice of the singer Catia Giannessi and to the capacity of musicians who caresses hurdy-gurdy, bouzuoki, recorders, shawm, percussions and various other traditional instruments they manage to reach their goal. This disc bursts with love for a woman, for friendship, for the divine, for nature. “M’entesio” which tells in music of Occitan Peirol and is approached as a Balkan dance is quite stupendous.
Christian Scorrano