"No props, no sets, no costumes, no instruments — just four women in black singing about the life of a medieval British saint. Somehow this produced theatre of the highest order; a spectacular demonstration of ensemble founder Katarina Livljanic at her most creative and imaginative"
In Dalmatica: Chants of the Adriatic, the ensemble turned the space of City Recital Hall into a cathedral, utilising the resonant space to take the audience on a meditative and atmospheric journey through a unique and fascinating corner of sacred music, revived from Latin manuscripts and oral tradition. Spanning the course of the liturgical year, the ensemble dovetailed polyphonic and monodic chants – a mix of solo and ensemble pieces – singing from different points in the hall to create an eerie, overlapping sonic experience.
"….a transfixing meditation on mortality conceived by the singer-scholar Katarina Livljanic…In a dance of the living and the dead, [the music] therefore had to be recomposed, using medieval manuscripts and oral customs, for instruments including the rebec, the gusle and the dvojnice. The songs themselves are musically bracing, particularly when sung in ganga, an intensely dissonant multi-part style from the Dalmatian hinterland.. a ritual that alternated solo songs with choral interludes in a simple staging by Sanda Herzic that effectively used the chapel’s aisles and choir loft…. Ms. Livljanic’s pure voice had an incantatory power, not least in a chanted reading from the Book of Revelation, and there was an energy in Kantaduri’s singing..."
Ms. Livljanic enacted the ancient drama with splendidly pure singing in Croatian, urgent narration, a penetrating gaze and expressive hands. (…) What makes “Judith” seem almost startlingly modern and metaphysical at times is Ms. Livljanic’s incorporation of other 16th-century texts dealing with inner dialogues at climactic moments in the story.
"Everything about this CD is a stroke of genius, beginning with the title (…). The Sequentia/Dialogos tandem has proved to be one of the most fruitful for medieval music. Their understanding of the structural and grace notes gives rise to a subtle interpretation which in some passages produces an intriguing heterophonic effect."
As an aural and visual experience it was one of the most moving events of this year's Festival.
Glowing four-part polyphonies with extreme density… the beauty of these polyphonies bewitches us … Dialogos voices give depth to space and resonance to vaults. Luminous timbres of great homogeneity reflect a subtle, sensitive balance and crystal clear harmony…
One of the most beautiful discs of medieval music to be heard for a very long time. This is an event.
The seven singers know how to give an extraordinary force to this neglected repertoire.