Malgré son titre, on ne peut vraiment pas accuser ce nouvel album de Savall de n’être guère épais : voilà une cinquantaine de pièces de mille origines chantant qui la guerre, qui la paix ; là où Savall est hautement original, c’est qu’il présente toutes les nations belligérantes de la Renaissance jusqu’à, à la louche, le milieu du XVIIIe siècle, de l’Espagne à l’Angleterre en passant par toutes les Allemagnes, l’Italie, l’Europe centrale sans oublier les forces orientales, en particulier l’Empire Ottoman – dont toutes les musiques ne sont pas anonymes, puisqu’il s’y trouve également Dervis Mehmet – et dont l’on pourra entendre une vraie « marche turque », la musique des janissaires qui a tant inspiré les musiciens européens dès les grandes incursions ottomanes (dont on rappelle qu’elles frôlèrent les portes de Vienne, par exemple en 1683).
William Byrd (c.1543 – 1623) was considered by his contemporaries to be a musician without peer. The music he wrote for voices to sing is generally recognized as his chief glory. While there are no transcriptions of chansons or song intabulations among his instrumental works, every moving line in one of his fantasies or pavans is in essence a wordless voice, having different registers and needing breath. Presented here by acclaimed harpsichordist Colin Tilney is a delectable assortment of keyboard works highlighting the vocal character of Byrd’s writing including his exquisite setting of John Dowland’s famed Pavan "Lachrymae."
Instead of the tentative Discipline which opened the gig in Austria, Milan is greeted with a full-on Vrooom. It’s a better decision because right off the bat, the group sound assertive and in control of their surroundings. Even the slight stumble early in Frame By Frame can’t unseat this ferocious beast of a rendition - no wonder Belew can be heard exclaiming “Alright!” off mic at its conclusion.
Prior to this concert, it had been seven months since the Double Trio had last assembled before an audience in Argentina. The first gig of any tour is always a slightly fraught affair; anything that can go wrong probably will. Gear will futz, fingers and feet will lie to their owners and the sound could well be unsound as the entire crew get to grips with the task of presenting nearly two hours of challenging music.
A wonderfully confident beginning in Florence with Vrooom coming out a tad slower but without losing any energy. The benefits of this approach include Tony Levin’s upright bowed bass on the coda having the same space to chug up to the front of the sound. Frame is taken at a calmer pace so that the English guitarist in the group doesn’t have fingertips ablaze as a result of the double time phase shifts both during and at the end of the song.
There are some nights when the energy flows within Crimso and this gig is certainly one of those. Vrooom though to Dinosaur seem to be possessed of a glowering intensity that one wonders how they will be able to sustain such power. The answer is to dial things down a little with the inclusion of an elegant rendition of One Time. B’Boom and Thrak reconnect Crim to some tumultuous forces including Adrian’s patented power-drill noise generator, Levin’s prowling bass and a brief but nonetheless laser-guided solo from Trey Gunn of the kind he would throw about during ProjeKct 2. Within the space of only a few minutes all kinds of musical landscapes are created and regenerated amidst the ever-changing turbulence.
The fifth night of the 1995 European Tour – the band roll into Zurich. While waiting for definitive notes from Sid the Smith, we have Stormy’s show notes. He has repaired the opening notes of VROOOM, which were missing from the DAT, and his personal highlights were Coda Marine 475, Frame by Frame, The Soundscape into B’Boom, the Thrakking, People, and a well-paced Sleepless (he’s a drummer. He should know). In his words a “good show overall”.