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Finally, some glorious rarities in Music in medieval Denmark (Tacet 243) from Ensemble Peregrina, directed by Agnieszka Budzińska-Bennett and Benjamin Bagby. For Mare Balticum Vol.1, the first in a proposed series featuring music from the nations bordering the Baltic Sea, they’ve compiled 13th century repertoires from Meister Rumelant von Sachsen and the Knud Lavard Office, book-ended by 15th century material from a manuscript in Det Arnamagnæanske Institut of Copenhagen. Sacred and secular, including songs about two medieval royal murders, it’s wonderful, vivid stuff, with impeccable research backing excellent performances. Vivacious singing from the female ensemble and soloists is contrasted with sonorous, characterful story-telling from bass, Benjamin Bagby.

Tasteful, delicate, delightful instrumental contributions on medieval harps, vielle, bowed lyre and sinfonia are fittingly employed. There’s a glorious bloom on the recorded sound, with depth, immediacy, and resonance without obfuscation: there’s so much to enjoy in this fine beginning to what promises to be a fascinating and highly entertaining project.

Rebecca Tavener Choir & Organ, October 2019)

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