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A Cumpagnia
Chants Sacres et Profanes de Corse
K617 ( CD set

Corsican polyphonic singing has enjoyed a revival in Corsica and France as people discover the rich, three-part harmonies and rich vocal ornamentation. A Cumpagnia presents a program of both sacred and secular polyphonic song accompanied by some wonderful instrumentals.

Disc one is a traditional Corsican mass performed in Monticellu, at a church with an organ that dates back to the 16th century. Organist Nicole Casalonga accompanies the choir. The interplay between the organ and the blended human voices is intoxicating. Disc two is a program of secular Corsican tunes. In contrast to the sacred disc, the female voices in A Cumpagnia are more prominent and the instrumental accompaniment is varied. The French liner notes are sparse, but the instruments seem to include strings (mandolin, lutes), a cialambella or other instrument from the reed family, frame drum, violin and harpsichord. Folk dances, laments and ballads dominate. The CD is as good or better than any of the Corsican polyphonic group recordings that have become popular, offering a wealth of styles and a high level of performance. -Aaron Howard

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