Complete catalogue



One of the main attractives of medieval music is the liveliness, strength and magnetism of its dances. Since medieval repertoires were rediscovered by the early music movement and its performers, instrumental dances have occupied an important place in concerts and recordings of these pieces. No wonder, since there are countless iconographic and historical sources of the time that show how instrumental music and dances played a key role in those times. However, there are very few true medieval dances that have come to us in notated documents, especially as their main form of transmission among jugglers and minstrels was oral, which made it not necessary to write them down. Still, some written collections have been preserved, such as the addenda to the Chansonnier du Roi, preserved in Paris, or the British Museum Codex 2998 . These and some other sources form a priceless treasure to know more about this repertoire: what kinds of dances existed, what their melodic and rhythmic structure were, the use of accidental and chromatic alterations and many other essential details for the musicologist and performer.

I n their album debut , the group Eloqventia, formed by the recorder and flute player Alejandro Villar, one of the great virtuosos of the moment, and percussion player David Mayoral, required by the world's leading ensembles, have wanted to present a dazzling and intricate collection of medieval dances of different origin and also different influences: some of the pieces selected here come from the very few collections preserved, and others have their roots in the oral traditions of al-Andalus and Sefarad. Some are not dances actually, but have been re-created or 'imagined' (as they say) from vocal pieces whose strophic structure has been changed to fit the instrumental language of the time. All works are anonymous except for a cansó that troubadour Guiraut Riquier wrote soon after arriving at the court of Alphonse X the Wise.

From the very start of the CD, with the mysterious Belicha, and until it ends with the exciting Italian Saltarello, ahead we have a fascinating hour of sounds and rhythms that are lost in the mists of time. Belicha is a stampida of subduing beauty and complex structure that tests the virtuoso Alejandro Villar, beautifully corrresponded by the no less virtuoso percussion player, extraordinarily varied and always surprising, David Mayoral, attentive to every rhythmic inflection, every melodic detail that has to be underlined. Immediately after this we find the oriental aroma of a muwashshaha entitled Badri ader kasa, anonymous medieval Andalusí piece that Villar plays with a bamboo flute, producing a truly unique and mesmerizing sound. Eloqventia recreate the piece adding their own improvisative elements, always respecting the hijaz mode in which it is composed, with its augmented second between E-flat and F sharp, which gives it its unique character. Another muwashshaha follows, the famous Lamma bada yatathanna , a piece that sounds with all its charm and mystery in the dulcimer played a solo by David Mayoral.

No less fascinating is the sound of the medieval double flute used in the Tierche Estampie Roial, which also receives an extraordinarily nuanced rhythmic treatment, something that will surely surprise listeners in all and each of the pieces. One might never have heard a recording of medieval pieces which such a virtuoso, varied and complex percussion playing. The different percussion instruments are treated in this CD as solo instruments, with their own language and space, as in the prelude to the istanpitta ,Tre fontane, for example, in which the soprano recorder and the doira develop an intricate game of questions and answers, a jaw-dropping, dazzling dialogue, or the interlude of the already mentioned muwashshaha ,Badri ader kasa. Meanwhile, Los Bilbilicos, a Sephardic piece, takes us back to a world of calm and nostalgic with the sound of the dulcimer and bamboo flute singing the wonderful melody also known as La rose enflorece, of a touching lyricism.

The gemshorn is a flute made from the horn of an ox, with a deep and mysterious sound, starring the interpretation of the estampida on the cansó by Guiraut Riquier. The last pieces of the album, except the serene recreation with symphonia and bells of Polorum Regina from Llibre Vermell de Montserrat, are all Italian. Chominciamento di gioia is another complex and intricate istanpitta of great difficulty that sounds here with a surprising added prelude by the darbuca and tambourine, and La Manfredina and its Rotta, familiar tunes for medieval music lovers, are two of the moments of greatest rhythmic exaltation and virtuosity of the disc, perfect examples of the refined, complex and subtle instrumental art of the time. Finally, a Saltarello , another example of the exhilarating instrumental art of Italian trecento, is strange in its rhythmic complexity, attractive for its constant innovation and ability to surprise, and unique in its technical difficulty among medieval music.



Alejandro Villar

Soprano, alto and tenor recorders/double flute/bamboo flute/gemshorn/symphonia

David Mayoral

frame drum/darbucas/jingle bells/dulcimer/tamburello/doira/tambourine/bells

Production information

Total time 57:30

Booklet with a complete essay by Alejandro Villar

Recording place Auditorio-Palacio de Congresos Príncipe Felipe, Oviedo, Spain, February 2014

Recording and Editing Fernando Arias (AudioREC sound design)

Masteriing Andrés Vázquez (Arco del Valle)

Production Eloqventia

Executive producers Alejandro Villar & José Carlos Cabello

Cover "Forest", Photo by Manuel Couceiro (



15219534_1200837286662887_6197529396800354748_n"The richness of textures that this couple of musicians create in the present CD runs together witH their impressive historical accuracy [...] This production is a wonderful tool to learn about medieval music [...] Not to be missed by any serious early music lover. AWARD "MELÓMANO DE ORO"

MELÓMANO MAGAZINE(Spain, December 2016)


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    Los Bilbilicos
    La Rotta della Manfredina

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