An Old Hall Ladymass | The Vinyl Anachronist

an old hall ladymass

After listening to the latest from 2L Recordings, An Old Hall Ladymass, I have but one question. What is an organetto?

In this day and age we have the Google so I shouldn’t be asking such questions out loud, but my unfamiliarity with this musical instrument should highlight the fact that 2L Recordings always challenges me in one way or another whether it’s the underlying themes, the exotic choice of music or, in this case, an unusual ensemble. I am familiar with Trio Mediaeval, a vocal trio that has been featured before by this Norwegian label, and An Old Hall Ladymass starts off with an almost-trademark blend of voices in a big church, with all that incredible space and decay. But the organetto? I find its sound haunting and unusual, which is a good thing.

Words and Photos by Marc Phillips

I did Google organetto, of course. It can look exactly like a small organ, as the one featured here does, but some organettos are a type of accordion that’s used in Italian folk music. That suggests a hybrid sound between the two other instruments, but in An Old Hall Ladymass the organetto possesses a plaintive and singular voice. It’s a truly unique sound.

2l recordings
(photo courtesy of 2L Recordings)

Thematically, An Old Hall Ladymass is exactly that, a tribute to the 15th century choir book that is known as the Old Hall manuscript. This choir book was largely forgotten for a few centuries and came back into focus by the end of the 19th century. To this day, the Old Hall manuscript is held sacred by choirs all over the world, and there is a concerted effort to prevent it from disappearing again. Trio Mediaeval, in this case, is keeping this promise with another lovely 2L Recording.

This is the first 2L Recording I’ve heard in my new, larger listening room, and it quickly became obvious that all of my 2L Recordings are going to be heard exactly as Morten Lindberg intended–airy, vast and detailed. An Old Hall Ladymass, along with the upcoming The Trondheim Concertos, feel like housewarming gifts from Norway. There’s a sense of an epiphany here, that I haven’t heard 2L properly until now, even though I’ve had decent-sized listening rooms once or twice in my life. Trio Mediaeval’s Anna Marie Friman, Linn Andrea Fuglseth and Jorunn Lovise Husan, along with Catalina Vicens’ organetto, have encouraged me to go back and explore the catalog just to see if I’ve missed something. I’m sure I have, which is yet another reason to love music–especially from 2L.