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Sfumato: Our new CD is now available!

June 22, 2011

SfumatoWe are very pleased to announce that our new CD, Sfumato, is now available. Pre-ordered copies are already wending their merry way through the postal system and into the hands of our valued patrons.  For those who choose instant gratification over the actual CD, MP3 downloads are available now from CD Baby and iTunes, and will be available soon from Amazon and Naxos’

For the etymologically-minded who may be interested in the meaning of our title, Sfumato describes a style of painting evident in some of the best works of Leonardo da Vinci, who defined sfumato as “without lines or borders, in the manner of smoke or beyond the focus plane.”  This description provided an inspirational and atmospheric point of departure for our exploration of Italian music for voice and lute from Leonardo’s time.

We have recorded some of our very favorite music on Sfumato, including madrigals that most certainly circulated as lute songs in their time but have not been heard in this most appealing format for nearly 500 years.  Notable examples include Petrarch’s text ‘Vergine bella’ in its setting by Bartolomeo Tromboncino, and his ‘O passi sparsi’ in Sebastiano Festa’s setting, using 16th century intabulations as a guide for our arrangements.  New favorites include the stunningly beautiful six-part madrigal by Philippe Verdelot, ‘Ultimi miei sospiri,’ and ‘Piango che Amor‘ by the great Luca Marenzio, both of which we have discussed previously on this blog (links above).

As our regular readers know, we have put a great deal of thought, time and effort into the making of this CD.  From preparing the repertory, refining the interpretations, and capturing the live sound, untold hours have gone into making the music alone.

But unlike recording artists who are sponsored by record labels, the work doesn’t stop there for us.  We design our own packaging, write the informative notes for the booklet (with expanded notes on our website), and, beginning with this release, have even taken on the nuts-and-bolts work to produce the CD packages; printing, cutting, folding, and assembling each piece.  Ours is truly an independent ‘cottage’ enterprise and, when you purchase a CD directly from us, you are participating in the closest thing to ‘buying local’ that you’re likely to find online.

We invite you to visit our web site, listen to the clips, read the notes, and of course, order or download a CD.  And, by the way, the music is even better live in concert.


UPDATE: Visit our Sfumato Bandcamp page to hear and download tracks from this recording. (070913)

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