Graindelavoix - Björn Schmelzer
Björn Schmelzer is a Belgian choral conductor, musicologist, and anthropologist, though he frequently crosses disciplines and incorporates many academic and creative influences in his performances of medieval music. He founded the vocal ensemble Graindelavoix in 1999, a group that explores the varieties of practices in medieval vocal repertoire. By researching the history and geography of Mediterranean traditions, Schmelzer draws on traditions found in Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Morocco, specifically employing the ornamentation and styles that are documented or which still survive. He has performed as a guest conductor and given lectures, additionally writing for various publications. He was named Young Musician of the Year by the Belgian Music Press. In the process of leading Graindelavoix, Schmelzer has documented the group's activities in films, and participated in audio-visual installations. He has recorded several albums for Glossa.
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Classical - Released April 17, 2020 | Glossa
There is something deeply troubling and inscrutable in Carlo Gesualdo’s music, something that any listener, even the most inexpert one, will unfailingly experience. This most particularly holds for Tenebrae Responsoria (1611), his definitive statement, his monument, his testament. It is as if this work, firmly embedded in the framework of liturgy for the Holy Week and reaching back to the practices of the Gregorian chant, would constantly extend over its boundaries and transgress its time and setting, immediately addressing modernity, disturbing all the rules in a severe tension, reaching into something that borders on chaos and madness, within the very order and religious devotion it fully espouses. Graindelavoix, that groundbreaking ensemble based in Antwerp and directed by Björn Schmelzer, are the ideal performers for this disquieting repertoire which originally was sung at Gesualdo’s castle and with probably only one listener in the audience: Gesualdo himself... In a tour de force lasting over three hours, recorded over ten days in summer 2019, the singers fully display all the features which, after 16 albums (all on Glossa) and hundreds of concerts, have made their sound a truly trademark one. In words of Schmelzer, “this is our most important recording to date”. A fascinating essay especially commissioned to Lithuanian philosopher and cultural theorist Mladen Dolar puts the music of Gesualdo into perspective, avoiding the clichés that are so often found in texts about the composer. © Alpha Classics