French guitarist Akchoté is best known for his many collaborations, noteably with Derek Bailey, Evan Parker and Lol Coxhill. However, more recently he has developed a fascination with medieval / Rennaissance music. Here, he has assembled five electric guitarists to tackle Rennaissance composer Carlo Gesualdo's madrigals, exchanging the traditional lute for a more modern twist. Polyphonictastic!
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- Gesualdo: Madrigals for Five Guitars by Noel Akchote
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And so I reach a relaxing end to a stressful week’s reviewing with this CD by Noel Akchote with a rather self-explanatory title - ‘Gesualdo: Madrigals for Five Guitars’. Here, the madrigals of late Renaissance “nobleman, composer, lutenist and murderer” (so sayeth Wikipedia) are arranged for five guitars.
It sounds pretty much how you would expect, although I believe Gesualdo was in certain chromatic respects way ahead of his time, I don’t have the chin-strokey musicology chops to properly tell you why. I can tell you that this 20-piece collection is a most relaxing and meditative listen, however, with lots of simple guitar melodies twisting around one another with casual, patient precision. A veritable smorgasbord of medieval sounding string-plucking, transposed to modern electric instrumentation but remaining respectful to the source material to give an intriguing sideways glance at musical history.
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