Anonima Frottolisti demonstrate Humanism in music

I first fell in love with early music through recordings of David Munro. In many ways, the Anonima Frottolisti reminds me of those recordings. The ensemble performs with enthusiasm and energy.

The album is a survey of music heard in 15th Century Italy. The Humanist movement grew out of a rediscovery of ancient Greek writings and culture. Renaissance scholars latched onto Plato’s concept that music had the power to stir passions.

And that’s the aesthetic behind Anonima Frottolisti’s performances — to stir the passions. Each piece has a strong rhythmic pulse. The ensemble leans into the syncopations and odd meters, give the music added excitement.

The performers don’t hold back in their delivery, either. Both the instrumentalists and vocalists have a certain rawness in their tone. To me, it makes these performances seem more authentic.

That’s not to say the Anonima Frottolisti is sloppy. Their intonation is spot-on, and their ensemble work is precisely in synch. It’s just full-bodied.

The program groups together the selections under five different themes: power, love, celebration, dance, and faith. It gives the album an overarching organization that makes it a pleasure to listen to from start to finish.

Some familiar composers are preset — Heinrich Isaac, Guillaume de Fay, and Joan Ambrosio Dalza. But most are anonymous. And that’s fine. This collection isn’t about a group of composers, but of aesthetic. And it worked. The Anionima Frottolisti stirred my passions with their performances.

From Court to Court: Humanism in Music
Anonima Frottolisti
Tactus TC 400007

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