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David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2012

The story of the Holy Grail has existed for almost two thousand years as it has passed down as the chalice used by Christ at the Last Supper. Percival’s Lament traces its literary and musical history back to the 12th century as related by the Minnesangers of medieval Germany who draw their songs on the literary references they heard. Some believed the Grail was a drinking cup, others that it was a precious stone. It also had many divergent stories grafted to its religious connotations and sung by the troubadours of the time, Chretien de Troyes, here represented by his D’amors, qui m’a tolu a moi (With love, who has stolen me from myself) and Rigaut de Berbezilh’s Atressi com Persavaus el temps que viva (Just as Percival, in his day), both being love songs, the latter relating Percival’s inability to tell the lady of his love, so struck is he by her beauty. And it is Percival who becomes integrated in the story told in Wagner’s religious opera, Parsifal. I am sure the Spanish based group would readily accept that our performances of medieval music comes from much educated guesswork as to how it sounded in its day, instruments often relying on drawings for modern-day recreations. Here the singing has that rustic quality of street singers, and I guess they would seldom have enjoyed the number of instruments involved here. Want a taster? Well try the track that gives the disc its name (track 7), and picture the trudging steps as the pilgrim nears the end of his journey in search of the Grail. © 2012 David’s Review Corner






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