This release is a beautiful album, based on the rich cultural tradition of Lebanese music. It highlights the traditional oriental orchestra (takht), consisting of oud, buzuk, qanun, ney, oriental violin and double bass with Arabian percussions such as tabla, riqq, katem, mezher and others. Artistic director and primary conductor of the Lebanese National Orchestra for Oriental Arabic Music, Andre Hajj is a Lebanese musician who grew up in an atmosphere of music and arts encouraged by his mother. Influenced by this musical and artistic atmosphere, Hajj began to study music at the age of sixteen and graduated from the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik with a Diploma in Oud and a Bachelor of Arts in Educational Music. He formed the group Amaken in 2003 to perform traditional Lebanese and Arabic music and he gave regular concerts in Lebanon and other countries.
DuFay Collective are, in a word, brilliant, basically the Pink Martini of the music of the period. Their music never fails to transport you back in time. However, for the most past, medieval music isn't something you plug into the CD player on long drives between cities. This album is an exception. The focus is on medieval dance music of France, England and Italy, and the pieces are light-hearted and "catchy" enough to keep me entertained on replay for hours at a time.
ACRONYM's release is the first recording devoted entirely to the instrumental music of Giovanni Valentini (1582/3-1649), who for more than twenty years was Hofkapellmeister of the Holy Roman Empire before fading into obscurity. Oddities & Trifles pairs selections from Valentini's published 1609 canzonas with nearly all of his extant manuscript sonatas (many of them containing strange chromaticism and metric eccentricities), and it consists almost entirely of premiere recordings.