Just as water is at the origin of every form of life so is music the vital medium through which man has always sought to express his deepest feelings and sensations. Water and sound are therefore united by a bond which the group Musica Officinalis reveals on a fascinating musical journey. Leading from the Cantigas de Santa Maria by Alfonso Xth, The Wise, dedicated to the cult of the Virgin Mary, beloved mother of all sinners, to the Cantigas de amigo its secular equivalent. We are immersed in the refined poetry of the troubadours, celebrating the virtue of the “Lady”, font of inspiration and object of devotion. But they touch also on less explored territory, such as the traditional dances of the peoples of the Mediterranean, around which the greatest civilizations of the ancient world were born and flourished. The voices of Musica Officinalis and the rich orchestration of wind, plucked strings and percussions evoke an atmosphere now arcane, now gay and popular, sounds and flavours, sensations and emotions which burst forth from Aqua Mater, “mother of all things” as the alchemists of medieval and renaissance times would have it.
G. Toffano

1. Quantas sabedes amar / Ondas do mar
Martim Codax - Cantigas de amigo - Portogallo XIII° sec.
2. Ava Mater

Anonimo XIV° sec.
3. Quant’ai lo mon consirat (strum.)
Anonimo – Spagna – XIII° sec.
4. De la iensor

Berenguer de Palòu – canto catalano-trobadorico XII° sec.
5. Krepkata
danza tradizionale macedone
6. Can vei la lauzeta mover
Bernard de Ventadorn – canto trobadorico XII° sec.
7. Yarim gitti
canto tradizionale anatoliano
8. Lunga Nahawend
danza tradizionale turca
9. Imperayriz de la ciutat joyosa
Anonimo - Llivre Vermel de Montsarrat – Spagna XIV° sec
10. Tant m’abelis

Berenguer de Palòu – canto catalano-trobadorico – XII° sec.
11. Los sept goytx
Anonimo – Llivre Vermel de Montsarrat – Spagna XIV° sec.
12. En quantas guisas…

Rey Alfonso X° - Cantiga de Santa Maria 339 – Spagna XIII°sec.

"De la iensor" full download (mp3 1,5 MB)
Catia Gianessi:
voice, tamburello, cimbals.
Gabriele Bonvicini:
hurdy-gurdy, saz, bouzouki, voice.
Igor Niego:
recorder, caval, chalumeaux,
italian bagpipe, darbouka,duf,
Roberto Romagnoli:
duf, tapan, djembè, darbouka,
oudu drum, riqq.

Massimo La Zazzera:
recorder, bouzouki.
Walter Rizzo:
breton oboe, hurdy-gurdy.
Lorenzo Niego:
Antonella Mazzucato:

From “ Folk Bulletin” December 2001
The quartet Musica Officinalis is the author of this beautiful disc, which though in appearance is dedicated to the medieval repertoire also finds space to dedicate to traditional European music, above all to that originating in the Balkans.
With an eye-catching cover and exhaustive sleeve notes which not only illustrate the programme but also explain the artistic intentions of this musical journey, Aqua Mater without doubt is distinguished by its originality of repertoire, its truly splendid musical execution and for its introduction of instruments which we are more used to finding within the setting of European ethnic music. So alongside the well known “Ondas do mar” by the Portuguese Martim Codax and “De la iensor” by the troubadour Berenguer de Palou or again Cantigas de Santa Maria “En quantas guisas”, we find the uneven rhythms of the Macedonian “Krepkata” and the splendid Turkish dance”Lunga Nahawend”. However the days are long gone when the music of the medieval period was the prerogative of the ultra orthodox ensemble: today, fortunately, those who listen to traditional music also love to listen to ancient music, discovering close links between and common origins of these seemingly distant musical worlds. We believe that musicians such as those of Musica Officinalis merit the interest not only of specialists in the field of ancient music, but also – as in the case of readers of Folk Bulletin- of the custodians of the tradition which has known how to maintain the musical thread for a millennium, enriching it with native influences which, over the centuries have shaped the history of our continent and of the Mediterranean. An invitation then, to those who organise festivals and exhibitions of ethnic music, to introduce to their programmes a repertoire such as that proposed by Musica Officinalis : the contradiction is only apparent, success is assured.
Alessandro Nobis

From the site
The first recording by Musica Officinalis deals with and explores medieval songs and dances with a spirit a long way from the usual philology so widespread in this musical sector, taking care with rich arrangements and a splendid rhythmic and harmonic framework.