The mesmerizing and crystalline voices of Oslo’s Trio Mediaeval have captivated the concert world with their breathtaking performances and recordings of a diverse polyphonic repertoire featuring sacred monophonic and polyphonic medieval music from England, Italy and France, contemporary works written for the ensemble, as well as traditional Norwegian, Swedish and Icelandic ballads and songs, mostly arranged by the group members.
During their career, the trio has developed exciting collaborations with both individual musicians as well as larger ensembles/orchestras. Trio Mediæval’s fruitful relationship with the legendary ECM Records, collaborative spirit, and busy touring schedule has earned worldwide renown, and the group frequently appears on the most prestigious stages in the world, including London’s Wigmore Hall, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Vienna Konzerthaus, New York’s Carnegie Hall, and the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.
An Old Hall Ladymass
The exquisitely decorated 15th century choir book known as the Old Hall manuscript was lost to history for the best part of 400 years until its reappearance in a Catholic seminary at the end of the 19th century. The largest surviving collection of medieval motets and mass movements, it immediately became the most celebrated source of English music of the period. It was written in the first instance by a single scribe to ensure that the music of his fellow singers was not forgotten. Many of them are known only from this manuscript, and on this album they find their voices again after more than half a millennium of silence, transformed by the singing of Trio Mediæval in the company of Catalina Vicens, alongside new music by David Lang and Marianne Reidarsdatter Eriksen.
Since its inception, Trio Mediæval has released several albums on the German label ECM Records: Words of the Angel (2001), Soir, dit-elle (2004), Stella Maris (2005) and Folk Songs (Oct. 2007). These recordings have all been on the American Billboard Top 10 Bestsellers List – and the latter was additionally nominated for a Grammy. A Worcester Ladymass (ECM, 2011) received the German Record Critic’s Award and has, among other things, received glowing reviews in England. On their sixth ECM New Series release Aquilonis, named after the North Wind, Trio Mediaeval offers a collection of polyphony from the Middle Ages to the more modern of our own time. In March 2017, the album Rímur came out. Fascinated and inspired by Icelandic sagas, beautiful songs, folk songs, religious hymns and fiddle tunes, the quartet has arranged a unique set of songs where improvisation, medieval and traditional music from Iceland, Norway and Sweden meet the present. Arve Henriksen has often performed with Trio Medieval in live settings – but Rímur is their first extensive collaboration on record.
Their penultimate album Solacium (2021) is a collection of hymns and lullabies — intimate songs as old as time and as new as tomorrow: this is music with no boundaries, celebrating our common humanity. We’ll never know the first song or the first singer, and we’ll never know what they sang about. But if time could unwind and we could hear it, perhaps we would witness a mother or a father singing the first lullaby. When we sing a hymn or a lullaby we become a link in a chain that began in the unknowable past and will stretch into the infinite future: a timeless continuum of solace and comfort. Guests musicians: Trygve Seim (sax) and Mats Eilertsen (double bass).