In recent years Gavin Bryars has concentrated to a great extent on writing for the human voice songs, madrigals, choral music, operas. Even an instrumental work like his Double Bass Concerto has a small choir of Russian basses as part of the accompaniment. But the purest and most refined of his music for voice has come about through his work with soprano Anna Maria Friman, for whom he has written many pieces over the last few years.
One of his projects with her involves his writing new versions of mediaeval Lauda, a form of unaccompanied song originating in 14th century Italy, and he decided to set the entire Cortona manuscript, a total of about fifty vocal pieces. Four of these “laude” appear on the Trio Mediaeval’s award-winning second ECM album “Soir dit-elle”. Although he has written many solo laude, he has extended the form to include other combinations of voices (nine sopranos, eleven sopranos, duets with tenor, trios with tenor and bass) as well as some with instrumental accompaniment.
This recording contains a wide range of these extraordinary pieces, which hover between the worlds of early and contemporary music. At the heart of them all is a love of the solo voice, specifically the glorious soprano voice of Anna Maria Friman - alone, or with the ideal pairing of John Potter’s tenor.
Anna Maria Friman, soprano; John Potter, tenor
Morgan Goff, viola; Nick Cooper, cello; Gavin Bryars, double bass