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 Zillo Medieval April 2011

Ballads, dances, satirical and songs of adulation from Elizabethan England. The English/Danish/German trio Pantagruel reveal on their new album, a fascinating portrait of an idiosyncratic age that transmuted their flesh and blood sovereign into the queen of a faerie kingdom. It was in part to legitimize the rule of this “mere” woman, that tunesmiths cast her as a mythological figure, particularly those emanating from the King Arthur saga. Appearing alongside these musical curtsies are amorous songs, including well-known Ayres by John Dowland (“I Saw My Lady Weep”) but also lesser known ditties. All of them offer the soprano Anna Maria Wierød a perfect opportunity to display her dazzling voice. With her restrained use of vibrato it fits perfectly with the natural historically informed approach of the ensemble. Mark Wheeler shines as the erudite lutenist, Dominik Schneider adds delightful accents with his flute. All in all, Pantagruel abduct the listener so skillfully into this bygone era, that it only seems fitting, that the musicians should also be thus appareled . These are not costumes, they are just the uniforms of three passionate performers who have taken on the responsibility of bringing the Renaissance to life for us all. Christoph Kutzer