VENOM INC., the new band featuring original VENOM members Jeff "Mantas" Dunn (guitar) and Anthony "Abaddon" Bray (drums) alongside ex-VENOM bassist/vocalist Tony "Demolition Man" Dolan, will release its debut album, titled "Avé", on August 11 via Nuclear Blast.
This 68-minute program–a compilation of recordings made by Jordi Savall, Montserrat Figueras & Co. during the years 1976 and 2008 (including several selections originally released on dhm and Virgin Classics)–proved one of those purely pleasurable, effortlessly rewarding listening sessions that only rarely come along. We don't often review compilations drawn from multiple recordings made in different venues and over many years–they're so often programmatically disjointed and sonically varied; but in this case it doesn't matter. The music is compatible stylistically and these performers are so consistent in the quality and care and vitality of their performances that, well, what's 30 years or so?
Ostinato is an anthology which brings together the most representative works of the art of improvisation and of a musical form based on a unique concept of the basso, which is repeated sequentially throughout the compositions.
Although the first full consort of viols did not arrive in England until 1540, there were actually several intriguing examples of what are now called "consort" music from before that time. Of course, the homogenous viol consort became supreme, and the present program (also featuring some 2-lute arrangements) focuses on the first part of that repertory. This developed at Elizabeth's court in the 1570s & 1580s, among professional musicians, but based on relatively restrictive models. Some pieces in the present program are composed freely, heralding the next step in consort development which, along with the small output of Byrd, allowed the English consort idiom to fully flower. Of course that was followed closely by the even larger and more famous repertory of consort music by composers such as Gibbons which was eventually geared more toward amateur players.
Peiwoh is the long-awaited second solo album by the extraordinary singer/harpist Arianna Savall. Both the music and the repertoire of Peiwoh expand greatly on her debut album Bella Terra. Here, the music is performed by a unique nine-piece ensemble including brother Ferran Savall on vocals and theorbo. The album's theme is based on the taoist tale of Prince Peiwoh, who played a magical harp whose stubborn spirit could only be tamed by the greatest of musicians. This album, like so many on the Alia Vox label, represents a seamless blending of various traditions from east and west, classical and world. Arianna Savall plays a variety of instruments ranging from the small Gothic harp to the majestic Celtic harp.