Astronio's Cabezon CD 1
This is a disc of two halves, motet transcriptions and differencias.
The transcriptions are Vogon poetry. They are some of the most boring, sprawling, formless, meaningless, drab, sombre, monochrome music I've ever heard, played with one exception on a heavy sounding old meantone tuned organ. This music calls to mind Morton Feldman's For Samuel Beckett. The best of the bunch is an Ave Maria by Josquin, but really, I'm scraping the barrel for something positive to say.
The differencias on harpsichord are livelier and lighter, but I thought that Astronio's harpsichord playing is sober and uninvolving. If these are interesting and inspired and imaginative and exciting sets of variations then please let me know, because they didn't sound it to me. The pick of the bunch is "la dama de demanda"
And then, we're plunged back into The World of The Organ for an epic set of variations - "Quien ti me enojó Isabel" Astronio plays it rather rigorously, and then loosens up slightly at the end to create a nice feeling of ecstatcy. It's OK.
The final piece, a harpsichord redition of Duuinsela, which has pretty moments, a central passage, but, really, no, enough's enough.
I wonder how many people bought the box, played CD 1 first, and never dared to go further.