“The Bay Area’s medieval rock stars”

~ Music Sources

“Virtuosic medieval music quartet”

~ Berkeley Daily Planet

“The result is a satisfying sound, even more so in their collaboration with Shira Kammen […] the instruments sound wonderful […] I look forward to more!

~ American Recorder Magazine

“Another talented ensemble from the San Francisco Bay Area, Cançonièr delights the ear with medieval music expertly [played] from Europe to the Balkans, and creatively interpreted on historic instruments.”

~ Coreopsis - A Journal of Myth and Theatre

“The Black Dragon promises to be a fascinating concert, with something for everyone to sink their teeth into.”

~ San Francisco Classical Voice

“Expert guest ensemble […] Cançonièr unfailingly performed crisply and animatedly.”

~ Indianapolis Star, July 2010

“[...] this unusual group gave the program lots of audience-appreciating pizzazz.”

~ Nuvo, July 2010

Reviews for The Black Dragon:

“[...] sometimes a recording comes along with such a perfect inevitability, it's like someone should have thought of it a long time ago. Happily, our friends at Cançonièr have thought of it first. Yes, recording is called the Black Dragon - Music from the time of Vlad Dracula. What a way to kick off the season.

“You will surely join Team Cançonièr when you hear this new project; and any recording that begins with the 15th-century Story of a Bloodthirsty Madman Called Dracula of Wallachia has to be a winner [...] Happily, this amazing recording begins with that cut.”

~ Millenium of Music National Radio, August 2010

“Ensemble Cançonièr’s new CD entitled The Black Dragon might be the first of its kind. I know of no other recording devoted to the music from the time of Vlad Dracula (roughly the middle of the 15th Century).

“Directors Annette Bauer and Tim Rayborn have put together an enticing program which includes a musical setting of the famous poem about Dracula’s horrific deeds by Michel Beheim. A fascinating array of traditional and courtly music from the Balkans rounds out the selections—all beautifully performed.”

~ Harmonia National Radio, September 2010

“The Black Dragon is an unusual recording of late medieval music associated with the C15 Vlad Dracula [...] better known as 'Vlad the Impaler.' This material is not often played in the West, and I only knew a few of the pieces on the CD. The playing [...] is superb and lively, and is, of course, performed on instruments of the period [...] and throughout the vocal performance is of a very high standard [...] excellent and enjoyable.”

~ Sacred Hoop, October 2010

“With eye-catching graphics and strong design, directors Annette Bauer and Tim Rayborn invite listeners' attention to the 17 tracks of music from the period and region of what is now southern Romania. This disc will satisfy lovers of Medieval music even as it stretches into slightly later repertory and connects that with Eastern European folk musics.”

~ American Recorder Magazine, November 2010

“This recording of the rarities that are often left unperformed is a welcome addition. Cançonièr does a wonderful job at choosing pieces by both well-known composers and those who are obscure, as well as selecting a variety of pieces from places that very rarely have their early music performed. [...] As a result, the group shows that they are well versed in early music repertoire, and they do a fantastic job of selecting pieces that fit with the temporal theme as well as performing them and interpreting them in their own ways. Anyone who has any interest in early music, world music, and hearing instruments that are not heard too often today, will find much to enjoy in this recording.”

~ Coreopsis, November 2010

“The American medieval ensemble Cançonièr brought a vibrant energy to the recording The Black Dragon - Music from the Time of Vlad Dracula.”

~ Harmonia National Radio, one of their “Top Ten Discoveries of 2010” (Host Bernard Gordillo), December 2010

“You don’t have to be familiar with the music or the period to be drawn into these performances. The musicians are experts at what they do, and their enjoyment comes across loud and clear. The sounds of the voice, vielle, recorder, harp, ‘ud and percussion are perfectly gauged, both individually and ensemble, and have been skillfully captured by the recording engineer. The microtonal tuning in the Turkish and Byzantine numbers will be a challenge for many listeners, but don’t give up on it: this is fascinating stuff. A mesmerizing look into a brand-new but forgotten world—I hope to hear more from this group in the near future. Highly recommended.”

~ Fanfare, January 2011

“Musically, the performance is exquisite. The upbeat selections are vibrant, playful, and exciting; the slower or more sacred pieces are sorrowful, delicate, and moving. An incredible amount of textural and timbral variety is present.

“The central block of Hungarian/Transylvanian/Moldavian/Bulgarian music is absolutely gorgeous […] as a speculation on the possible sound world of someone in Vlad’s time, it’s a delight.”

~ Early Music America, March, 2011

Audience responses:

  • “Great concert, all! It's so nice to see early music done with humor and style.”
  • “I loved the concert and was deeply impressed with your skill and musicianship! Thanks for a lovely evening. Best recorder playing I ever heard.”
  • “The concert was exquisite. Great performances, great program, great mixture of you all together. Thanks so much.”
  • “Loved your show! Great musicianship, great songs, & great banter.”
  • “One of the best shows I’ve ever seen at the Indianapolis Early Music Festival.”
  • “It really was something. It wasn't your typical early music concert.”
  • “I traveled all the way from Minneapolis for this [to Indianapolis], and it was well worth every mile I drove!”
  • “Thanks to all of you who played excellent music so beautifully.”

    “[...] 4 amazing musicians on voice and instruments having sheer fun playing this music amazingly well just for us. (Actually, I think they do it for their own joy and let us in on the ride.) Phoebe Jevtovic has a beautiful, expressive voice. Tim Rayborn plays (well) more instruments than some people have books. Shira Kammen has this impish sense of humor, that manifests in her funny comments to the audience and the musical surprises she pulls on her fellow performers [...] Annette Bauer sometimes closes her eyes while playing, and it seems like she goes into a trance and *becomes* the music.

    “Their style is casual, speaking with the audience about the music and their instruments. Their orchestrations are unique and inspired. Their fingers move faster than is humanly possible. Their fans in the Bay Area are too numerous to fit into the venue - the concert will sell out. I have seen them sell out a second concert they added because they sold out the first so quickly. They are why I am going and why I will even enjoy the pieces that don't do anything for me.”

    ~ Bay Area Classical Music Meetup, November 2010

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