Blue Heron serves savory sounds with 14th C. Salmagundi

What exactly is a salmagundi? According to the liner notes, it’s “a savory dish composed of chopped meats, seafood, eggs, vegetables, and condiments.” In other words, a kitchen sink dish. I’m not sure I’d enjoy such a dish. But I very much enjoyed this release.

In this case, the salmagundi is a sampling of various 14th Century composers. And with ingredients like Guillaume de Machaut, Phillippe de Bitry, and Francesco Landini, how can you go wrong?

Blue Heron performs to their usual high standards. The ensemble has an exceptionally clear, pristine sound that serves the music well.

This was the beginning of the Ars Nova movement, and music could be incredibly complex. Isorhythms and the then-new polyphony require a high degree of precision to make the music work.

Blue Heron has that precision, and not at the sacrifice of musicality. Their phrasing pulses with emotion, bringing these works to life.

And their recorded sound is superb. There’s a little bit of ambiance to provide warmth and cohesiveness. But the overall sound is still clean and transparent.

I wouldn’t mind a second helping of Blue Heron’s salmagundi.

A 14th-Century Salmagundi
Blue Heron; Scott Metcalfe, director
Blue Heron BHCD 1011

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