I love music.

I write about the music I like and have purchased for the benefit of better understanding it and sharing my preferences with others.


Pluhar Mediterraneo Christina Pluhar and L'Arpeggiata release Mediterraneo, a collection of pieces that feature the ensemble's strengths in color, plucked instrumentation, and growing interest in world vocal styles. The liner notes really give the detail to the variety offered in this album, with a Portugese singer (Mísia), Catalonian (Nuria Rial), Spanish (Raquel Andueza), Italian (Vincenzo Capressuto), and Greek (Katerina Papadopoulou). Add to that Arpeggiata's typical instrumentation that includes cornetto and psaltery, plus Portugese guitar, fado, Greek lyra and lavta, and Turkish qanun and saz. They've left their baroque roots and fully embraced, I think, a world asethetic. 19 tracks total, with a focus around what they call the "olive frontier" in their notes. As with a number of the other releases by this ensemble, the recording is well done, reminding me most, perhaps, of their recent release focusing on South American pieces. Like that same CD, this one is filled with many unknown pieces (although, to be fair, I was already familiar with Besa mi mucho on the earlier release). What is included are a number of nice melodies each paired with intoxicatingly good singers with different vocal styles and colors to their voices. In that way, too, the release reminds me of Los Imposibles, with the emphasis here on vocals. For those who need an instrumental, the 16th track "Sfessania" should fill the prescription, although at 3 minutes, its very short. The next track is generous, however, with the full instrumental sound that L'Agrippina is really known for, with a solid bass, percussion, and a wide sound across the soundstage. I've only been living with this music for a short period of time, and I haven't paid a lot of attention to the words of the pieces yet. As an iTunes purchase, the included PDF booklet thankfully includes the words and translations of the pieces starting on page 36. But even without this important context, I can say that the album survives alone on its emphasis in the variety of color and flavor. It's an appropriate backdrop to a Mediterranean-style meal, for sure. There's likely more authenticity to the music here, than say, a "world" album akin to Pink Martini. But like a Pink Martini album, the pieces were chosen because they're each attractive and flavorful little works. The slower numbers, such as track 19 "Los delfines" (The Dolphins) definitely evoke a night scene with quiet waves and sparkling stars above. And with that, it is evocative to me of the Dowland Project's recording focused around sleep. Kudos to Pluhar and her collaborators on bringing us yet another vision of an attractive sound world that's beautifully and sensitively done.

Vivaldi opus 1

Time to Think, Time to Create; Time to Listen?