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February 14, 2004

Rocky Mountain News

Formed in 1988 by singers from some of England's most respected choral groups, the Orlando Consort sticks to the vocal music of Europe before 1520-30 - a time when one singer took each musical line. The concept of Wine, Food and Song, Smith noted, "was always lurking out there." Once a decision was made to assemble the program, inquiries were sent out to the world of early music scholarship.

"We found some wonderful pieces that way," the tenor said. "Some are directly related to an item of food, some do so through association. We found songs by such familiar names as Dufay and Mauchet, but we also uncovered some stunningly beautiful pieces by lesser names."

Smith and his colleagues also found a surprising number of off-color ditties. "Some are absolutely obscene," he said. Others coyly use food items as anatomical symbols. The anonymous Florentine carnival song Canto de' cardoni, for example, is a boast to the ladies by "master growers of cardoons," a relative of the globe artichoke, but here representing something less mentionable. Read as such, the lyrics might make a modern rapper blush. Today, these songs, written in single lines or composed in rich harmony, have an infectious bounce and energy to them - just as they may have entertained listeners long ago. More

Posted by acapnews at February 14, 2004 9:12 AM

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