Harmonice Musices Odhecaton, Ottaviano dei Petrucci. Fretwork: Richard Boothby, et. al.
Harmonice Musices Odhecaton, Ottaviano dei Petrucci. Fretwork: Richard Boothby, Richard Campbell, Wendy Gillespie, Julia Hodgson, William Hunt, and Susanna Pell, viols. (Harmonia Mundi HMU 907291)
Fretwork departs from its usual recorded fare, English consort music, to sample Harmonice Musices Odhecaton, a collection of 96 polyphonic, diverse pieces lovingly collected and printed (in three portions, beginning in 1501) by one Ottaviano dei Petrucci. These are songs and a few dances that had been popular for a half century at the court of Burgundy, with contributions from the likes of Obrecht, Agricola, Isaac, and Josquin. If you're inattentive, it can sound like one 76-minute moan. But listen closely, and you'll hear Fretwork's customary felicities at work and at play: absolutely pure intonation honing the austerity of some pieces, pointed articulation energizing others. With a dynamic range that does dip below mezzo-forte—something all too rare among viol consorts—balancing a tendency to luxuriate in the instruments' keening tones, Fretwork turns in sensitive, nuanced performances. Just sample the opening "La Spagna," in which the group sounds exactly like a hurdy-gurdy.
This article, "Harmonice Musices Odhecaton, Ottaviano dei Petrucci. Fretwork: Richard Boothby, et. al.," is part of the Strings Archive, which you can access with a paid site subscription.
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