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Words of the Angel

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Album Review

Would that it were possible to give a debut recording a higher rating. The Trio Mediaeval is a remarkable group of women from Scandanavia whose repertoire consists of contemporary works and medieval compositions, as well as Baroque church music. This recording comprises a Messe de Tournai of polyphonic mass movements from a 14th century text and is interspersed with motets and songs from roughly the same period, including a number of works from English manuscripts. There is also a small collection of monophonic music Laude verses from the 13th century, and Ivan Moody's glorious Words of the Angel inserted as part of the mass, the lone contemporary work in the set. Produced by the Hilliard Ensemble's John Potter, the Trio has accomplished the unthinkable in taking a body of music that was meant solely for the voices of men, and transformed it into a multiphonic soprano's paradise. While the intonations presented a number of problems, the group takes the source material and treats it as if it were contemporary music and skates a wonderfully razored line of innovation and reverence that moves from mere academic inquiry — something to despise in classical music — into a terrain of mystery, depth, and an ambiguous austerity that actually feels like the music of prayer. So often, either the music director or the technical gifts of individual singers bury the soul of a medieval manuscript under technique and the secular sheen of primary academic indulgence. Here, despite the presence of truly inspiring vocal gifts — being able to shape a stark musical line with warmth and aplomb while adding structure and aesthetic form to a series of works that were separate until the present recording — the texts themselves and their prayerful intention are given full expression by this wonderful group. Their treatment of Moody's Words of the Angel (a young composer of 37 who studied with John Tavener and belongs to the Orthodox Church) is offered the same reverential space, placing it in a timeless continuum with the other works here that are centuries older. The projected polyphony takes the Eastern motifs and weaves them seamlessly into the earlier medieval ideal without perverting or altering in any way the composer's intentions. Only time will tell, of course, but Words of the Angel, with its inspiring performance and heartfelt, mystical longings, will most likely become a recording of reference for decades to come.

Customer Reviews

Melodic and Enchanting

I fell in love with this CD from note one. The Trio brings peace and serenity to my all too hectic life. I don't usually listen to music when I go to sleep, but TM sing me to sleep each and every night. Highest recommendations!

Great Music

The music performed by these women is perfect. I came across them during a itunes free download n was amazed by them.The music has a near religous feel to it and it provides a nice way to ease yourself from anger and is also great to go to bed to.


This has to be one of the most unique, and wonderous pieces of music I've ever heard. I get lost in thought whenever I listen to this group. It's just absolutly...beautiful.


Formed: 1997 in Oslo, Norway

Genre: Classical

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The Trio Mediaeval's uncommonly clear and focused presence is anchored by the combination of three perfectly aligned voices that form what could be described as an ethereal tonal prism. Equally adept at interpreting music both ancient and modern, this celebrated threesome was founded in Oslo in 1997 by Linn Andrea Fuglseth of Sandefjord, Norway, with Anna Maria Friman of Goteborg, Sweden and schoolteacher Torunn Ostrem Ossum of Namsos, Norway who sang with Fuglseth in the choir Grex Vocalis under...
Full Bio

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Words of the Angel, Trio Mediaeval
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  • $11.99
  • Genres: Classical, Music, Chant, Choral, Medieval Era
  • Released: Nov 08, 2001

Customer Ratings