This is another timely tribute to the lamented (and much overlooked) Thomas Binkley who died in 1995 and who was one of the guiding lights in the resurrection of medieval music alongside other warped geniuses such as the equally lamented David Munrow. This double album demonstrates Binkley's pioneering genius and powers of musicality working with scant material and little if any style or period guidance.
That does not matter for the two discs are replete with some wonderful touches, both vocal and instrumental. The astonishingly-varied corpus of works ranges from pieces by Peire Vidal to the sumptuous and bucolic style of Wizlav von Rugen. Unsung heroes include Andrea van ram singing with astonishing vitality in her soprano voice, Willard Cobb's equally effusive tenor and the multi-talented Binkley himself who plays a host of instruments including timbrels, citole, psaltery and the "chitarra Saracenica".
I really cannot emphasize the joy of listening to this stunningly varied album, full of original musical touches and recorded in superb sound in at least 3 different locations over a period of around 8 years. Alongside Das Alte Werke's "Carmina Burana", this should be in any self respecting collector of early music collection. And it is also a reminder of one of the giants of the medieval music scene, the unjustly forgotten Thomas Binkley whose star should rise considerably after these laudable reissues.
Copyright © 2008, Gerald Fenech