DIÁSPORA SEFARDÍ. Romances & Musical Interludes
with Sephardi influences.
Hesperion XXI Montserrat Figueras: canto. Jordi Savall.
Aliavox AV9809 130m
Jordi Savall's outstanding group of instrumentalists, Hesperion XXI continue
to chart rare medieval territory with this double album of vocal and instrumental
music dedicated to the Sephardi age. The first disc contains some wonderful
demonstrations of the impressive vocal range of the highly talented Montserrat
Figueras who sings the various pieces with unique character. I was particularly
entranced by 'Por que llorax blanca nina' from Sarajevo and the Salonican
'Levantose el Conde Nino' both works of mystical provenance and complex
harmonies. Figueras is consistently stupefying in the works dedicated to
Marrucos, Sofia and Rhodes, all imbued with a rhythmic drive and particular
élan. The second disc is even more intriguing as the instrumental
pieces are much more inventive and create a particularly intriguing atmosphere.
Savall is unquestionably one of the finest minds in this particular territory
and this is shown in the outstanding interpretations of 'Las estrellas
de los cielos' (Alexandria) and 'Longe de mi tu' estaras' (Sofia)
where the music is consistently shifting harmonies and tonalities. Each piece
has its own characteristics and charms of its own, and they really come alive
in Hesperion XXI's lively interpretations.
The recorded sound is exceptionally clear with each instrument spotlighted
in a perfectly natural manner. AliaVox's presentation is also superb with
a triple gatefold sleeve containing an appropriately detailed booklet that
expounds on the history of the Sephardic Jews and their impact on the musical
scene. I have nothing but praise for this outstanding issue - another superb
addition to AliaVox's catalogue.