The Spanish Early Music group Música Temprana is led by Adrián Rodríguez Van der Spoel, its artistic director. A dozen pan-European singers and musicians trained in the performance practice of music of the sixteenth century make up the group, playing a variety of Renaissance musical instruments that include recorders, vihuelas, harps, bajoncillos, sackbuts, and guitars.

In the fascinating PENTATONE CD Melancolía the music of several composers of the early Renaissance – some Spanish, some Flemish – Francisco de la Torre, Juan Ponce, Pedro de Escobar, Garci Sánchez de Badajoz, Alonso de Cordoba, Cristobal de Morales, Juan de Triana and Johannes Urrede among others keeps company with music by anonymous composers arranged by Adrián Rodríguez Van der Spoel.

The wide ranging enterprise is thematically unified by texts set to the music of the Spanish Golden Age: villancicos, canciones, and romances – some courtly, some popular – on the subjects of heartbreak and unrequited love, and the ensuing melancholy present in human hearts over such earthly matters.

In the beginning of the 16th century Catholic Spain in particular dreaded the destruction of Christianity by an Ottoman invasion and thus a possible end of the then known world. Thus some among these songs comment on the plight of the human condition, and offer a measure of consolation to the faithful with assurances of a better life to come.

The performances heard throughout the album’s twenty-two tracks are exquisite, with outstanding instrumental playing by Andrés Locatelli, Anna Danilevskaia, Paulina van Laarhoven, Emma Huijsser, Beto Caserio, Matthijs van der Moolen, Anton van Houten, Victor Belmonte, and superb singing by Olalla Alemán, Luciana Cueto, Emilio Aguilar, Jan van Elsacker, and Romain Bockler.

Adrián Rodríguez Van der Spoel was the Executive Producer and co-author with Luciana Cueto of the very informative liner notes.

Rafael de Acha                  ALL ABOUT THE ARTS