Come un'ombra di luna

Ensemble Belcanto, Dietburg Spohr

Come un’ombra di luna marks a first ECM appearance for one of the most highly-regarded vocal groups in European new music.The Ensemble Belcanto was formed in 1986 by mezzosoprano Dietburg Spohr, then a member of Clytus Gottwald’s legendary schola cantorum in Stuttgart. Spohr, who had experience in improvisation as well as choral music, classical singing and new music performance was aware that contemporary composition lacked a first-rank group made up of female voices. Frankfurter Rundschau critic Gerhard R. Koch: There already existed several specialist vocal ensembles for new music, it is true, but none of them were composed exclusively of women singers specializing primarily in contemporary music.

Featured Artists Recorded

January 2000, Festeburgkirche Frankfurt

Original Release Date


  • Mein Blaues Klavier
    (Alexander Haim, Else Lasker-Schüler)
  • 1Mein Blaues Klavier05:16
  • 2An meine Freunde10:18
  • 3Ouvertüre06:54
  • 4Mein Herz ruht müde04:59
  • 5Un monde abandonné des facteurs (1996)
    (Konrad Boehmer, Michel Robic)
  • 6Come un'ombra di luna (1997)
    (Fabrizio Casti, Cesare Pavese)
  • 7Séraphin - Stimmen (1996)
    (Wolfgang Rihm)
Belcanto is an all-female vocal sextet, formed in 1986 specifically to perform contemporary music. Its singers have gone on to acquire real skill as percussionists too, steadily assembling a repertoire of specially commissioned pieces that make full use of their versatility. Here the works by Wolfgang Rihm and the senior Israeli composer Haim Alexander involve percussion, while Fabrizio Casti and Konrad Boehmer supply short a cappella pieces. ... Rihm's Séraphin-Stimmen is in a class by itself on this disc. It's one of the satellite works developed out of the same creative nexus as his experimental plotless and textless theatre piece Séraphin, first performed in 1994. The six vocal lines use just isolated syllables, weaving ever-changing patterns and sound masses articulated by untuned percussion. Its dramatic impact is extraordinary; the intensity never flags, and the silences that increasingly punctuate its progress add an air of impalpable mystery.
Andrew Clements, BBC Music Magazine
If it is surprising that a female vocal ensemble specialising in contemporary music did not come about until 1986, there's little doubt that Belcanto have occupied the position with skill and an adventurous approach to repertoire, of which the present disc offers only a partial overview. ... Sound and presentation are up to ECM's usual high standards. Given the number and variety of composers to have written for Belcanto, a follow-up disc will hopefully be forthcoming.
Richard Whitehouse, Gramophone
Die himmlischen Frauen von Ferrara verzauberten das frühbarocke Oberitalien, Brahms erlag dem geschmeidigen Charme der reinen Frauenbesetzung - und auch heute lassen sich immer wieder Komponisten auf die Vokalbesetzung ein, der auf den ersten Blick das Fundament fehlt. Aber eben nur auf den ersten Blick. Denn bei zuerst linear erfundener Musik, wie sie auf dieser fabelhaft klingenden ECM-CD vereint ist, spielt Grundierung nur eine untergeordnete Rolle. Und wo sie klanglich nötig ist, helfen Perkussions-Instrumente. Haim Alexander, Konrad Boehmer, Fabrizio Casti und vor allem Wolfgang Rihm lassen sich uneingeschränkt ein auf die Besonderheiten der Frauenbesetzung, auf die Möglichkeiten der homogenen Verzahnung, der entrückten Jenseitigkeit schlanker Höhe, die möglichen Schärfen und Gewalttätigkeiten.
Peter Korfmacher, Klassik Heute