Lupercalia - _Florilegium_
(Equilibrium Music, 2004)
by: Pedro Azevedo (8 out of 10)
Mixing neo-classical music with medieval influences, Italians Lupercalia are now on their second full-length album, following the _Les Nuits des Samain_ EP and the entirely instrumental full-length _Soehrimnir_ (neither of which I've had the chance to hear before delving into _Florilegium_). With soprano singer Claudia Florio joining classical guitarist Riccardo Prencipe, the duo then enlisted the help of solo violinist Gianluca Uccio and a string quartet to create the lush medieval ambience of _Florilegium_, now released through Portuguese label Equilibrium Music.

The songs on _Florilegium_ tend toward the tranquil side of things, though some more stirring passages are also mustered (during "Personent Hodie", for instance), as well as some more festive ones. From Eastern influences to Latin lyrics, there is a lot of uniqueness to be found behind the skilled musicianship. The vocals are very well performed, adventurous and well suited to the music, combining with the violin, guitar and background strings and synths for flowing, involved compositions.

While very pleasant and musically interesting, _Florilegium_ sometimes lacks more memorable passages (the aforementioned "Personent Hodie" comes to mind as a good example), and a somewhat darker atmosphere would have been a definite bonus for me. Furthermore, at over one hour in length, some arrangements become slightly repetitive, and some tracks therefore come across as less relevant; but the medieval atmosphere is convincingly achieved and well kept throughout, which goes a long way to keeping things together as an album. In spite of minor problems, _Florilegium_ remains a very good album, with a vast amount of musical merit and an accomplished medieval atmosphere to ensure its relevance. An intriguing and enjoyable listen that should prove very rewarding for those with an inclination for all things medieval.

Contact: http://www.equilibriummusic.com

(article published 25/5/2004)


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