In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument
The mesmerizing voices of Oslo's Trio Mediaeval have captivated the concert world with their breathtaking performances and recordings of a diverse polyphonic repertoire that features medieval music from England and France, contemporary works written for the ensemble, and traditional Norwegian ballads and songs. Founded in 1997, the Grammy nominated Trio Mediaeval developed its unique repertory during intense periods of work at the Hilliard Summer Festivals in England and Germany between 1998 and 2000, and subsequently with Linda Hirst and John Potter. "Singing doesn't get more unnervingly beautiful," wrote Joshua Kosman of the San Francisco Chronicle, who declared their San Francisco debut "among the musical highlights of the year." He added, "To hear the group's note-perfect counterpoint - as pristine and inviting as clean, white linens - is to be astonished at what the human voice is capable of."
Trio Mediaeval made its US debut in 2003, performing two sold-out concerts at New Haven's International Festival of Arts and Ideas. Since that first appearance, the trio has embarked on multiple North American tours performing in cities across the continent. Highlights include concerts in New York's Carnegie (Weill) Hall, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the National Cathedral in Washington D.C., the Kennedy Center, engagements at San Francisco Performances and Spivey Hall, and broadcasts on American Public Media's Saint Paul Sunday and Performance Today.
The trio delights in performing new music and collaborates with a multitude of contemporary composers, including Gavin Bryars, Piers Hellawell, Roger Marsh, Ivan Moody, Paul Robinson, Thoma Simaku, Oleh Harkavyy, Bj Kruse and Andrew Smith. In 2005, the trio premiered Shelter in Cologne Germany. This joint production of Bang on a Can composers Michael Gordon, Julia Wolf & David Lang, German new music ensemble musikFabrik, and Ridge Theater, received its U.S. premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM).
Trio Mediaeval performs throughout Europe, giving concerts and radio broadcasts in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK in such venues as the Oslo Concert House, the Vienna Konzerthaus, Wigmore Hall and numerous festivals.
Their four albums on ECM Records feature pristine performances of a diverse repertoire, and have met with near unanimous praise. Their first release, Words of the Angel, immediately charted on Billboard's Top 10 Bestsellers list and was the April 2002 Stereophile "Recording of the Month." Soir, dit-elle (2004), features Leonel Power's Missa Alma Redemptoris Mater along side works by Gavin Bryars, Andrew Smith and Ivan Moody, and met with similar critical and commercial success. The trio's third recording, Stella Maris (2005), features 12th and 13th-century music from England and France as well as the world premiere recording of Missa Lumen de Lumine by Korean composer Sungji Hong. Trio Mediaeval found themselves back on the Billboard charts and with a 2008 Grammy nomination for "Best Chamber Music Performance" with their most recent release, Folk Songs - an intimate collection of Norwegian folk songs featuring traditional percussion and jew's harp played by Birger Mistereggen.
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Review: Oslo's Trio Mediaeval presents a reconstruction of a 13th century votive Mass to the Virgin Mary, based on surviving manuscripts from a Benedictine Abbey in the English Midlands. Inserted amid the medieval music are a Credo and Benedicamus Domino specially composed for this programme by Gavin Bryars: the old and the new intermingle in the work of this vocal ensemble. Anna Maria Friman: "The members of Trio Mediaeval feel that performing medieval music today gives us the freedom to let our imagination and ideas flow, as though we are creating contemporary music."
Dance, Do Not Cry
Review: The Norwegian women's ensemble Trio Mediaeval specializes in early music, but also sings new music, and in this album it branches out to arrangements of folk songs. Folk musician Tone Krohn and group member Linn Andrea Fuglseth made the arrangements, which are magical and lovely. Given the constantly evolving conventions of the folk repertoire, the trio and arrangers are under no constraints to discover and follow an authentic performance practice for the songs, so the arrangements are stylistically and idiomatically varied. They retain the simplicity of a folk song, but the harmonies frequently push the folk style toward a heightened expressivity through the judicious (and highly effective) use of dissonance. One of the most striking characteristics of the arrangements is the textural variety they achieve -- it's frequently hard to believe that only three voices are able to create such a rich contrapuntal web. The group sings with great purity and excellent blend, so the tart harmonies really ring, and their rhythmic incisiveness keeps the music lilting. Birger Mistereggen accompanies them on various percussion instruments, drums, and jew's harp. His contributions are discreet, but add immeasurably to the color and atmospheric variety of the music. ECM's sound is characteristically immaculate, with good resonance. The beautifully performed and produced disc should appeal equally to lovers of folk music, women's voices, and contemporary music for small vocal ensembles. "Singing folk songs of its native Norway, the classical vocal ensemble tenderly melds the raw beauty of tradition with the pristine precision of classical technique. The harmonies are both earthy and ethereal, full of chill Scandinavian darkness and the huddling warmth of a shared song." - Boston Globe
Review: Founded in Oslo in 1997, trio mediaeval's repertoire is polyphonic medieval music from England and France, contemporary works and Norwegian medieval ballads and songs. Their first CD, "Words of the Angel," was released in 2001 and immediately went to the Billboard Top 10 Bestsellers list. "Soir, dit-elle" was released in 2004 and remained on the top-10 list for weeks. Linn, Torunn and Anna, trio mediaeval, sing music spanning some 500 years, but to them it is part of a timeless present. "Soir" has a sacred work by Leonel Power (1370-1445), "Missa "Alma redemptoris mater;" and 5 contemporary works, all composed for the group: Ivan Moody's "The Troparion of Kassiani," Gavin Bryars' "Laude novella-Ave regina gloriosa" and "Ave donna santissima-Venite a laudare," Andrew Smith's "Ave Maria-Regina caeli," and Oleh Harkavyy's "Kyrie." The perfect voices rise and blend in the atmosphere, carrying us up to another realm, a place of beauty, peace and meditation.
O Maria, stella maris, conductus
Review: Anna, Linn and Torunn, the 3 beautiful women who are Oslo, Norway's brilliant, ethereal Trio Mediaeval, bring us their second CD. The group's chosen repertoire of polyphonic medieval music from England and France, and contemporary works is represented here by 7 haunting polyphonic pieces from 12th and 13th century England (favorites being 2 odes to the Virgin Mary, "Flos regalis virginalis" and "O Maria, stella maris;" the group-arranged "Dou way Robyn/Sancta Mater," and 3-voice conductus "Veni creator spiritus" and "Beata viscera;" and 2-voice conductus "Dum sigillum." In addition there are the 5 movements of a contemporary work by Korean composer Sungji Hong, "Missa Lumen de Lumine," dedicated to Trio Mediaeval and written for 3 voices. The ringing tones and soaring harmonies take us to a sublime soundscape of wonder and meditation.