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Recordings

The Devil’s Dream
09 Feb 2007

The Devil’s Dream

The duo of gambist Vittorio Ghielmi and lutenist Luca Pianca even has its own domain name (www.pianca-ghielmi.com), as well as several previous releases, of which the first has perhaps my favorite CD title ever (Bagpipes from Hell).

The Devil’s Dream

Vittorio Ghielmi, viols; Luca Pianca, lute, chitarrone, baroque guitar; Graciela S. Gibelli, soprano.

Harmonia Mundi Iberia HMI 987066 [CD]

$16.99  Click to buy

Their most recent disc continues the infernal theme, and focuses on a repertoire which I find absolutely irresistible — Elizabethan and early Jacobean instrumental music. The recording has several quirks which set it apart. To begin with, though this is a duo of one gambist and one lutenist, the repertoire includes, through the miracle of overdubbing, works for two lutes, or two viols. Next, the interpretive choices on various occasions draw on the modern practices of traditional Celtic music (very convincing, and hardly out of place, though I must confess I am already a fan of jigs and reels). Soprano Graciela Gibelli’s thin, reedy, new-Agey sound and her pronunciation continue in this vein (like almost any singer who is not a native speaker of English, she is unable to rid herself of the habits of her own tongue, but rather than take RP as a model, she has chosen an Irish accent. And why not? RP is certainly far from the speech of Dowland). And finally, Ghielmi and Pianca both contribute original compositions in the Celtic style.

As I said above, I am a sucker for this stuff, the duo plays it with panache and brio, and the sound is beautiful. What’s not to like? If this music is your bag, this belongs on your shelf, and I bet it will have a frequent place in your CD player.

Tom Moore

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