Courageous (and excellent) musicians, courageous (and magnificent) editor and original program elaborated by Katarina Livljanic (teaches at various universities from Harvard to the Sorbonne), a cult artist since the first of a long series of albums, Terra Adriatica (L'Empreinte digitale, twenty years ago) followed by, among others, Abbo Abbas (Ambronnay) or Dalmatica (Arcana), her last (except for my mistake). Accompanied by the flutes, harp and rebec of the Dialogos ensemble, Katarina Livljanic sings in Italian, French, Latin, Croatian, ancient Slavic and Greek some texts that she compiled whose theme is the metamorphosis of Buddha: Bodhisattva becomes Buddha-saf, then Judasaph/Josaphat and, guided by the hermit Barlaam, he comes to integrate, along with his guide, the Christian saint (until the end of the 19th century). In this journey towards an invisible world, Livljanic's performance (the specialist in medieval music also frequents contemporary repertoires in collaboration with Thierry Pecou's Variances ensemble) stands out for its amazing expressiveness, its 'Callassian' theatricality and its infinite variation of nuances from word to song that reflect or underline the diversity of the texts in each language. The musicologist has judiciously reconstructed the music from melodic formulas and 'modes of interpretation' corresponding to each text and language. I cannot say if these musics are (exactly? more or less?) the ones that were heard then, but I believe that their power of fascination remains as valid. "Ancient music never became ancient, but we have forgotten it", says one of Dialogos' musicians. The booklet offers a code for free download of the numerical book The Legend of Barlaam and Josaphat by Katarina Livljanic.
(…) an excellent protagonist of a narrative story, accompanied by instruments, creating a committed attitude from the listener. To conclude briefly, a record like those that were made once: they incite us to construct and learn something now, instead of being just an amusement.
(…) You don’t need to be a musical or linguistic scholar or share my own weird Anglo-Catholic-agnostic interest in Indian religions to enjoy it all. The recording will be of interest mainly to scholars; it should be in every University library, but I hope that it will appeal to a wider audience, with the three performers, not least Katarina Livljanić herself, making the music sound as diverse as possible. It’s all delivered in a basically declamatory fashion, but the. singing, always very assured, is often dramatic and impassioned. It’s aptly described in the booklet as containing ‘a wide spectrum of nuances ranging from the spoken word to singing’. I have learned a great deal from this recording (…). More to the point, I found it all so fascinating that I had to listen to it all over again immediately. Even if you don’t follow the texts in detail and simply let it wash over you, as I confess that I did some of the time, the music is always enchanting and often ethereal. (…)
(…) This project is a unique new experience. A multimedia e-book, in French and in English, is included in this CD. (…) An exceptional and highly original CD. Highly recommended.
(…) The poignant vocal and declamatory performance of Katarina Livljanic and the sovereign accompaniment of Albrecht Maurer and Norbert Rodenkirchen create a very dense atmosphere that captivates the listener. In addition to the music, a fascinating multimedia ebook in French and English is also available for download (…).
(…) The masterful singing and narrative style of Livljanic carries the CD. (…) A great project in which historical research and artistic creativity meet with finesse.
An atmosphere of increasing intensity, like the pulsation of a shamanic drum, allowed the audience to experience a concert in which languages and different musical cultures form an incredible soundscape [...]. The concert aroused the interest of the public who filled the Romanesque abbey of San Basilide.
Weltmusikalisches Euroclassic-Konzert im Hornbacher Fabianstift
Dialogos combines knowledge based on musicological research with elements of theatricality and musical expression. [...] Katarina Livljanic's full voice and the subtitles in German evoke the traditional representation of an opera. [...] The dialogue also unfolds in an original way: different passages of the legend are presented in six languages by Katarina Livljanic. A dialogue between different languages and cultures takes place, but also between religions, medieval and modern musical cultures. The audience applauded a long time after the end of the concert.
Telling this story in a concert was not easy. Instead of a traditional approach, Dialogos has chosen a new and very interesting presentation. The audience experienced a story created as a mosaic from various sources and pieces. But the real impact of the evening was not so much in the complexity of texts but rather in haunting and meditative music. The reconstruction of music and instrumentation from the ancient sources was a major creative project. A project that Dialogos has accomplished in an excellent way. Katarina Livljanic's voice was ideal. With great emotion, she performed the stories: by the power of her singing, we could already guess the contents of mysterious texts. [...] A long applause for this excellent interpretation and a fascinating lesson on medieval legends.