Ciaramella Dances (2018)

Sanz, Anonymous, Zanetti, Knight Gilbert, Ortiz, Diego Ortiz, Uccellini, Cazatti, Falconieri, improvisation, Piccinini

Ciaramella Renaissance Ensemble

People have been dancing as long as we can remember. Medieval children ringing round the roses of the Black Plague, Renaissance nobility processing to the stately basse danse, city folk courting to the steps of the pavane, and the already pregnant bride in Brueghel’s painting The Peasant Wedding, all danced their way through the rituals of life; courtship, marriage, political intrigue, harvest, and the final Dance of Death which we must all join regardless of social status, wealth or position. Just as their choreography balances delicately between the strict restraints of convention and the ingenious flourishes of spontaneous florid motion, its music weds strict and unchanging patterns with kaleidoscopic permutations of musical invention.

Our title “Ciaramella: Dances on Moveable Ground” plays on the fact that we live in Southern California, where the ground might roll or shake below our feet at any time. But dancing on shifting grounds is also a musical concept that serves as a unifying element in this recording. Grounds are the repeated chord progressions and melodies that lie at the heart of Renaissance and Baroque dance. Some, like the passacaglia, contain ostinato patterns which repeat only four descending notes and their harmonies. Others, like the passamezzo antico, moderno, and romanesca, consist of four-chord progressions with open (unresolved) and closed (resolved) endings, a musical question and answer.

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Ciaramella Renaissance Ensemble

Ciaramella Ensemble brings to life Medieval and early Renaissance music from historical events and manuscripts. Praised for performing intricate fifteenth-century counterpoint "with the ease of jazz musicians improvising on a theme," its members are united by the conviction that every composition conceals a rich story waiting to be unlocked through historical research and speculative performance.

Founded on a core of winds: shawm, sackbut, recorder, bagpipe, and voice, Ciaramella takes its name from the Italian shawm and from a fifteenth-century song about a beautiful girl whose clothes are full of holes. When she opens her mouth, she knocks men flat. Ciaramella's members met as graduate students at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. They first performed together on Christmas Day 2003, in Spoleto, Italy. There they collaborated with musicologist Gioia Filocamo to perform music from the manuscript Panciatichi 27, much of which had not been heard for centuries. In 2004, the group performed in a staged production of the first Hebrew play, A Comedy of Betrothal by Leone de'Sommi (c.1550) at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Ciaramella has since performed for the Bloomington Early Music Festival, Oberlin's Baroque Performance Institute, the Lute Society of America, the American Musicological Society in Seattle, and on early music series in Cleveland, San Francisco, and San Diego. They have performed for Columbus Early Music in Ohio, Seattle's Early Music Guild, and continue to perform in Los Angeles for the Da Camera Society's music series, ?hamber Music in Historic Sites." Ciaramella was a finalist in the 2003 Flanders Festival International Young Artist's Presentation and in the 2004 Medieval/ Renaissance Early Music America competition in New York. The group made its debut appearance to sold out crowds at the Tage Alter Musik Festival in Regensburg, Germany in Spring 2007.

This season the group has performed at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, Early Music Society of the Islands in Victoria, BC, made its New York debut at Music Before 1800 and performed for the Connecticut and Amherst Early Music Festivals.

As first runner-up in the 2003 Early Music America competition, Ciaramella recorded its first CD for Naxos entitled "Sacred and Secular Music from Renaissance Germany," which was released in January 2006. Their second CD under the Yarlung Records label, Ciaramella Dances, has received critical acclaim.

photo: provided by Yarlung Records

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Ciaramella Dances (2018)

Sanz, Anonymous, Zanetti, Knight Gilbert, Ortiz, Diego Ortiz, Uccellini, Cazatti, Falconieri, improvisation, Piccinini

Ciaramella Renaissance Ensemble

    Early Music Today [Editor's Choice] -

“expressive fluidity and rhythmic vitality.”

Jeremy Barlow

    Analog Planet

The Ciaramella Ensemble is a modestly sized group of seven musicians playing recorders, percussion, dulcian (a bassoon-like Rennaissance era woodwind), viola da gamba, guitar, theorbo (a large lute) and harpsichord — all of which are recreations of original instruments. It is a small ensemble so the arrangements are organized more intimately. Appropriately, the recording sounds more closely miked, yet still wonderfully spacious and natural. Instruments are convincingly spread across the stage and to appreciate fully, don’t play it too loudly. The music covers “grounds” from Spain, Italy and England. Even if you didn’t know that, you’d easily guess the origins of each of the songs. These mostly mirth-filled tunes sound something like what you’d expect to hear at an outdoor June wedding held in a garden. There’s also a new composition “The Fisher and Fox” by group co-director Adam Knight Gilbert. Alessandro Piccinini’s "Chiaccona in partite variate" has a chord progression familiar to any rocker or folkie. As much pleasure as the melodic compositions and spirited playing bring, an additional highlight is the superb, minimally miked recording (a single AKG C24 tubed “stereo” unit), produced to analog recording tape at USC’s Alfred Newman Hall. The short signal path wired with five foot long custom, stranded silver interconnects, features custom Elliot Midwood-designed vacuum tube preamplifiers and no mixer. The album from the original analog tape uses no compression or limiting. So guess what? The sonics are astonishing. Quite simply, if you want to know how good your stereo can possibly sound, get this short, but delightful recording (if the woodwinds "break up", blame your system, not the recording)!

Michael Fremer[read full review]

    The Absolute Sound

Yarlung hits a home run! The sound is clear and warm, intimate, and not too wide. The instruments are recorders, dulcian (a Renaissance double reed instrument), viola da gamba, guitar, theorbo, harpsichord, and percussion. “Grounds are the repeated chord progressions and melodies that lie at the heart of Renaissance and Baroque dances,” say the liner notes. The fact that Ciaramella is based in earthquake-prone California makes “movable ground” a pun as delightful as the lively music here. The first two tracks, by Gaspar Sanz and Andrea Falconieri, are from the late Renaissance and are heavily Spanish-flavored. In the Sanz, in fact, the Arabian influence is as prevalent as the Spanish. Adam Knight Gilbert, one of Ciaramella’s directors, contributes “The Fisher and Fox,” a whirling English-style dance that sounds straight out of the 1500s. Falconieri’s “L’Eroica” is a wild three-parter, and the version of “Greensleeves” is a world away from the soggy, sulky versions you normally hear.

Steven Estep[read full review]

Ciaramella Dances (2018)

Sanz, Anonymous, Zanetti, Knight Gilbert, Ortiz, Diego Ortiz, Uccellini, Cazatti, Falconieri, improvisation, Piccinini

Ciaramella Renaissance Ensemble

Analog Recording Equipment: Len Horowitz vacuum tube record circuitry
Digital Converters: Hapi
Editing Software: Pyramix
Mastering Engineer: Steve Hoffman | DSD 256 Music Download Created from the Original Analog Master Tape by Bob Attiyeh
Microphones: AKG C24, preamplification "Elliot Midwood"
Producer: Bob Attiyeh, Jacob Horowitz
Recording Engineer: Bob Attiyeh
Recording location: Alfred Newman Hall, Los Angeles, California
Recording Software: Merging
Recording Type & Bit Rate: Analog

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YAR98619DSD: Ciaramella Dances
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Tracks.
1.
Jacaras
Sanz
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2.
L'Eroica
Falconieri
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3.
Chiaccona in partite variate
Piccinini
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Batalla de Barabaso yerno de Satanas
Falconieri
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Canario
improvisation
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Passacalle
Falconieri
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Ciaconna a tre con il suo balletto
Cazatti
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Moresca
Knight Gilbert
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Fantasia sopra La gamba
Knight Gilbert
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Aria decima quarta sopra La mia Pedrina
Uccellini
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Fresca ribera
Anonymous
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Recercada ottava
Diego Ortiz
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Recercada secunda
Ortiz
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Greensleeves to a Ground
Anonymous
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The Fisher and Fox
Knight Gilbert
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Diferencias sobra Pavane d?Espagne
Knight Gilbert
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Spagnoletta
Zanetti
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Sardanas
Anonymous
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La Mantovana - Bobbing Joe - Aupres de ma blonde
Anonymous
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Jacaras
Sanz
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