Canty - Carmina Celtica - Audiophile Audition

This album comprises music that has all, with the exception of the genuine early music and Ivan Moody's O quam mirabilis, been composed for and commissioned by the four-woman vocal group Canty, and each piece on this disc is a world premiere performance. The idea is to break down boundaries between old and new, east and west, and classical and traditional. To a large extent this works very well, though I would not by any stretch of the imagination consider the performances of the "early" music authentic in the way we have been led to believe in the last 20 years.

But that's not really the point either, nor do I think it should be. What we have here are recreations of ancient music that are interspersed with modern music that for the most part does not try and set any new tone for itself, but instead takes its cues from the old music and mimics it in a contemporary way. So when you listen to this album the tone and tonality of most of the works, whether new or old, is remarkably consistent, and even when going from plainchant to a piece like Joanne Metcalf's Shining Light there is little in the way of critical ambiance to distract you from the overall mood this album wants to set.

It's hard to pick favorites here, as all of this music is very welcome and incredibly comforting to hear. I guess I should mention Moody's O quam mirabils as being an exceptionally beautiful piece of music, as lovely as his mentor John Tavener ever composed, and simply a stunning piece. Canty is a fine ensemble, maybe not quite reaching the ensemble unanimity and security of a group like Anonymous 4, but very close. I thoroughly enjoyed this superiorly recorded project, and you will also.

Audiophile Audition
18 February 2011