(...) the joined voices of the Dialogos and Kantaduri ensembles, full of fervor, color and dramatic power, (...) made the ancient stone vibrate with happiness.
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.
Unusual sonorities, full of surprises, highlight dissonances that are wonderfully expressive - especially in a deeply dramatic invocation of Judas - sometimes even with daring polymodality! The intensity that emerges is further strengthened by a powerful and very grounded vocality. The audacity of the arrangements is based on rigorous musicological work revealing unknown musical repertoires coming from the shores of the Adriatic. Strength does not exclude finesse, even in the smallest details. The precision of the singers shows a great complicity; their pronunciation is a model of clarity. [...] In the end, early music and traditional music appear as two facets of the same gem.
"(...) The female vocalists of Dialogos perform music from the female monastic tradition and in particular their rendition of a troped Sanctus from a monastery in Zadar is absolutely mesmeric. The rhapsodic lines overlap, almost tumbling over each other in a moment of religious ecstasy.The contrast with the rich, impassioned voices of vocal ensemble Kantaduri in chants from local Croatian traditions serves only to enhance the beauty of each devotional tradition."
What a splendid disk! Through a symbolic link between Byzantine and Roman liturgical traditions, this beautiful musical production brings together six traditional singers of Croatia - Kantaduri - and four singers of Dialogos with Katarina Livljanic. THEY explore rich medieval liturgical repertoire from Dalmatia. (...) Do not seek for composers' names: these medieval manuscripts do not contain any of them, but it does not alter their timeless beauty. As for the Glagolitic chants, they have often been transmitted by oral tradition. The CD has been recorded in March 2015 in the magical acoustic of the old refectory in the Abbey of Royaumont. A truly magnificent production, captivating, with a very complete booklet explaining everything.
The recording, which Katarina Livljanic and Ensemble Dialogos have dedicated to the Croatian music, is called Dalmatica - named after a tunic whose origins are Roman, and which later became one of the sacred vestments used by both Eastern and Western churches. Like a rich splendid vestment, decorated with precious musical treasures, this collection reveals the value of a symbolic link between Roman and Byzantine liturgical traditions, piece after piece,, threading a fascinating journey of discovery of rare manuscripts (…). A surprising variety of vocal colors, expressive nuances witness of authenticity, modernity and the profound spirituality of sacred music in this noble Dalmatian region.
Both groups sang with an astonishing vocal purity and rhythmic suppleness, as if they were breathing as one. As they processed around the Greyfriars nave or gathered in clusters surrounding the audience, and as their contrasting chants overlapped to bewildering sonic effect... we experienced - directly, and in a highly moving way – the profound spirituality of the region's music.
Startling pure voices resonating off the church walls to astonishing effect, and bringing rich subtleties to melodies... A rare window on to a sumptuous musical culture."
The scholarship on display was as impressive as the musicianship. As groups of men and women succeeded one another from stations diagonally across the building or processed once again to gather on the stage, it was the distinct timbre of these voices individually and in combination that made the more profound impression.
Specialists like Livljanic and Caleta demonstrate a very rare and unique approach to their musical heritage (…).Their two deep passions are united in this project: they join their knowledge, their voices and their ensembles... into a marvelous programme.