The subtitle for this release (in English) is “the symbol of the Rose in the Middle Ages.” The flower was a major part of Christian symbolism, and thus for Christian-inspired music.

The thorns represented the sins of Man. The red petals of the rose symbolized the blood of Christ and the martyrs, shed in sacrifice. The spotless — or thornless — rose represented the Virgin Mary.

This collection presents those views with material that spans the Middle Ages. The ensemble performs works by Guillaume de Machaut, Hildegard von Bingen, and Chatelain de Coucy. Also included are selections from the Cantigas de Santa Maria, the Montpellier Codex, the Bamberg Codex and others.

The Ensemble Chominciamento di Gioia delivers committed performances. These are accurate musicological realizations and darned good music-making. The sopranos have a clear, crystalline sound that transports the listener to into the realm of Medieval mysticism. Instrumentalists perform with sensitivity. There’s no harshness that so often is a part of early music performances.

This is a beautifully realized program. I highly recommend it — especially to those who are just beginning to explore the Medieval repertoire.

Rosa das Rosas
Il Simbolo del la Rosa nel Medioveo
Chominciamento di Gioia
III Millenio 144