Lauren Pomerantz and Robert Clancy album


(Songbird Music)


LPresAt its best early music is not just an artistic time-machine, but an insight into the psyche of humanity in another era. While reverence is commendable, even more important is a willingness to buy into the present tense of the music; to make it fizz in the moment of performance. To this end soprano Lauren Pomerantz and lutenist Robert Clancy stood up to perform, memorised all the repertoire so they were not captive to the page, and connected the songs with short improvisations from Clancy.

Only just released, this album was actually recorded live in 1980 in Ibiza when the pair toured the Balearic Islands in the wake of studying early music together in Switzerland. Although slightly brittle, Pomerantz’s voice has wonderful immediacy, so you sense her living the lyrics rather than aiming for an arid exercise in perfection, and she is fully alive to Clancy’s rhythmic buoyancy in her phrasing, too. His improvisations, meanwhile, are a delight, and add massively to the evocation of the era’s formal elegance as a living, breathing reality.