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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Ensemble Galilei, From Whence We Came

All avid listeners to "serious" music find there are times when deep, perhaps intense music needs to be balanced by something less heavy, as a refresher and to recreate a mood of glad expectation. I have a perfect antidote today, the Ensemble Galilei and their album From Whence We Came (Sono Luminus 92194).

They have been around since 1990. I reviewed their Surrounded By Angels here a while back. See the index search box. On this album as on previous ones, they give us a virtuoso chamber version of the Celtic sound. They do this by a lively program of traditional music of Ireland, Scotland and Europe, early music rearranged for the ensemble and originals. They do this with a hybrid eclectic instrumentation. Isaac Alderson plays uilleann pipes, Irish flute and whistles; Ryan McKasson plays fiddle; Kathryn Montoya plays recorders and whistles; Jackie Moran is on percussion and banjo; Sue Richards plays the Celtic harp; and Carolyn Surrick is on viola da gamba.

Whether it be an arrangement of Marin Marais's "Minuet and Caprice" or the "Largo" from a Georg Phillipp Teleman viola de gamba sonata, Irish or mainland folk music from historic collections, or an old Swedish hymn, or an original by Catherine Surrick, the ensemble gives us an ever-evocative, timeless archaic musicality that brings us in direct connection with earlier ways of sounding and hearing.

These are first-rate musicians with a sense of borderless possibilities and a beautiful sound. They give you a respite from the modern intensities of our world with music of breadth and content. This is indeed an exceptional experience!

As with many Sono Luminus releases, it comes in a two disc set--one a CD with standard stereo mixdowns and then a Blu-Ray disk with 9.1 and 5.1 surround sound.

Highly recommended!

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