Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

ESPAÑA ANTIGUA
[Full details at end of file]
CD1 CANSÓS DE TROBAIRITZ
CD2 LLIBRE VERMELL DE MONTSERRAT
CD3 COURT MUSIC AND SONGS
CD4 SEPHARDIC ROMANCES
CD5 RENAISSANCE MUSIC FROM THE NEAPOLITAN COURT
CD6 ANTONIO DE CABEZÓN 1510-1566
CD7 CANCIONES Y DANZAS DE ESPAÑA (1547-1616)
CD8 EL BARROCO ESPAÑOL

Hespèrion XX / Jordi Savall
Rec: between 1976 and 1986; no precise information given with the set.
VIRGIN CLASSICS VB5 619642 (8 CD set)

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Between 1975 and 1983, Jordi Savall and the vocal and instrumental ensemble Hespèrion XX made a dozen recordings of early Spanish music. They include performances not only of art music from the courts of Ferdinand and Isabella, and later Charles V and Philip II, but songs by women troubadours of the early 13th century, Sephardic romances and a justly famous recording of 14th-century pilgrim songs from the Llibre Vermell of Montserrat. Eight of these recordings have been remastered for CD and have just been re-released in this budget-priced boxed set.

The eight CDs in this set cover six releases (two of them being two CDs each) of early Spanish music. They are presented in a roughly chronological order (with some overlaps of dates) ranging from the 12th - 13th century, for the first CD, to the 17th century.

Jordi Savall has, over the years, done a great deal to help listeners discover much little-known early music. His talent includes the choice of music to present, as well as his arrangements and performances. One thing that often stands out in his recordings is the texture of the music, the overall sound that he obtains that makes his ensemble sound unique. This depends partly on the instruments and singers, but also on the specific arrangements and performances. These eight CDs are a fine example of not only early Spanish music, but also Savall's talent.

The first CD in this set, Cansós de Trobairitz (Songs of the troubadours) contains some of the oldest music known from this part of the world. The pieces here are Spartan and minimal, with often a voice singing alone over a repetitive accompaniment. Even when there is more than one voice, the repetitive elements are present - the voices sing together, in Na Carenza al bel cors avinen, in a close harmony, with only a lute playing softly in the background. This is music from another time, yet music that resonates in today's world, and one can hear how the music of this period has influenced certain modern composers (the minimalists, Arvo Pärt, etc.). Some of the music is much more lively, though, and Si us quer conselh, bel'ami'Alamanda shows the close relationship with Celtic music.

Llibre Vermell De Montserrat, or the Red Book of Montserrat, so named because of the red velvet cover on this manuscript, contains some of the most beautiful medieval music known. The melodic qualities of these songs, and their texture, is magnificent. Many of these 14th century sacred works are sung in Latin, and praise the Virgin Mary. Montserrat was an important site of pilgrimages at the time, and these songs were written for pilgrims who wished to dance or sing "honest, pious songs." The song Stella splendens in monte is a virelai, with verses and refrains, and, melodically, recalls some of Perotin's polyphonic works, but, here, there is instrumental accompaniment. Unlike what some people usually think of sacred music of the time, this is incredibly joyous, some of the songs with very strong, dance rhythms, such as Splendens ceptigera, a bright and lively piece.

The third disc, Court Music and Songs from the Age of the Discoverers 1492-1553, has a much more "Spanish" sound - you can here the rhythms and styles that have become familiar in Spanish music. The first three pieces are all songs for voice and instruments, but then the tone changes abruptly, with a beautifully subtle Recercada for solo viol, followed by two solo lute pieces, played by the excellent Hopkinson Smith, which recall the music of John Dowland. A series of vallancicos, inspired by folk-songs, then more lute pieces and some romances follow, then three more beautiful solo viol pieces by Diego Ortiz, one of the greatest Spanish composers for this instrument. This disc contains a wide variety of music.

Disc four, Sephardic Romances, contains a series of songs of the Sephardic Jews, written before they were expelled from Spain in 1492. The tone is much different here - there is a clear Middle Eastern influence, in the scales and harmony used, and some of the songs have a droning accompaniment with vocals spinning arabesques of melodies in modes more often used in Arabic music than western European. Montserrat Figueras' haunting soprano is beautiful and powerful at times, subtle and evocative at others.

Renaissance Music from the Neapolitan Court is a collection of pieces that were played in this court after it had fallen to the Aragonese to Alfonso I, who became king of the Two Sicilies. While not only Spanish music, this set of pieces bears witness to the intense musical culture that the Spanish king brought with him to the court of Naples. This musical atmosphere continued under the later rulers Ferdinand I and Charles V. This disc contains works by more than a dozen composers, from all across Europe, because the court attracted musicians from every country. These works cover a variety of styles, from lively songs (the celebratory Viva, viva rey Ferrando), to sweet, mellow music for viols (De tous biens plaine), to energetic Renaissance-style instrumental pieces, with strong rhythms and horns (Figlie Guilielmin), and beautiful instrumental works (Diferencias sobre el canto del caballero).

The sixth disc in this set is one of the high points. Here we discover one of the areas where Savall is strongest - the beautiful, lush music for viol consort and other instruments (these pieces also include horns, plucked instruments, such as the vihuela and guitar, and percussion). Antonio de Cabezón, who was born blind, worked at the court of Isabella of Portugal, the wife of Charles V, from the age of 15. After her death, he joined the service of her son Philip II. Cabezón was a great proponent of keyboard music, but also wrote other instrumental works such as those on this disc. They are beautiful works, sometimes regal, thanks to the use of horns, sometimes mellow, like English viol consort music. As always, the sound of the ensemble is magnificent; Savall has a fine talent for carefully balancing the instruments in this type of group. There are also two fine lute pieces, Tiento VIII and Para quien crié cabellos, very typical of the lute music of this period.

The Songs and dances from the time of Cervantes disc has a more minimal ensemble than most of the other discs in this set. With Montserrat Figueras singing, there are only three viols, a vihuela or guitar, a flute and percussion. The accompaniment here is much more limited, and the tone of most of these songs, somewhat melancholy, is well-served by such a small group. Some of them recall the songs of John Dowland, although in a Spanish idiom. There is a wide variety both songs and instrumental pieces, with romances, madrigals, villencios and dances.

The final disc is a selection of Spanish secular music from the baroque period. Again, as on the previous disc, the ensemble is intimate; here it is even smaller - Montserrat Figueras, soprano, together with a fine quartet of musicians: Ton Koopman on harpsichord, Hopkinson Smith on guitar and theorbo, Christophe Coin, on viol, and, of course, Jordi Savall on viol as well.. The pieces are almost all scored differently, ranging from solo harpsichord pieces (the Toccata and Gallarda by Cabanilles), to pieces for viol and guitar (Martín y Coll's Diferencias sobre las Folias, a set of variations on the famous La Folia theme), to songs with soprano and instruments. This is, again, a beautiful disc, full of charming music, and closes out this set perfectly

This is a magnificent set, yet I must express one regret: the original issues of these recordings contained interesting liner notes with presentations of the music and their texts. This set contains nothing more than a track list and a brief overview of the recordings. It is understandable that, at this price, full notes are not included. However, a label such as Virgin could easily put the notes up on their web site, so at least some listeners would have access to them. This is something I feel budget labels should think about. It would provide a useful service to listeners, and would cost very little.

This is a beautiful set, containing 8 discs of masterpieces performed perfectly. I don't have enough superlatives to truly describe it, and, at such a low price (less than the cost of 2 full-priced CDs), there is no excuse if you don't go out and buy this right away. Jordi Savall has done a great service to his country, and its music - this is the finest anthology of early Spanish music you can find.
 
 
Kirk McElhearn


 
CD1 [50:06]
CANSÓS DE TROBAIRITZ

Songs of the troubadours (c1200)
Vos que'm semblatz dels corals amadors (dialog) (3:53)
Condesa de Provenza Garsenda/Gui de Cavaillon/Gaucelm Faidit
Estat ai en greu cossirier (cancó) (6:07)
Condesa de Dia/Raimon de Miraval
Na Carenza al bel cors avinen (tensó - cancó) (5:51)
Anon./Arnaut de Maruelh
Si us quer conselh, bel'ami'Alamanda (tensó) (9:42)
Giraut (Guiraut) de Bornelh
Ab joi et ab joven m'apais (cancó) (5:26)
Condesa de Dia/Bernart de Ventadorn
A chantar m'er de so q'ieu no voldria (cancó) (8:20)
Condesa de Dia
S'anc fui belha ni prezada (alba) (10:24)
Cadenet
Montserrat Figueras soprano
Pilar Figueras soprano
Josep Benet tenor
Jordi Savall vielle, lyre
Hopkinson Smith lute, guitarra moresca
Lorenzo Alpert flute, percussion
Gabriel Garrido guitarra moresca, flute, percussion
Christophe Coin vielle, rebab
Jordi Savall direction
CD2 [59:18]
LLIBRE VERMELL DE MONTSERRAT

A 14th-century pilgrimage
O Virgo splendens hic in monte celso (3:58)
Stella splendens in monte (7:25)
Laudemus Virginem Mater est (2:13)
Los set goyts recomptarem (7:30)
Splendens ceptigera (2:05)
Polorum regina omnium nostra (6:01)
Cuncti simus concanentes: Ave Maria (5:01)
Mariam Matrem Virginem (7:21)
Imperayritz de la ciutat joyosa (6:50)
Ad mortem festinamus (7:12)
O Virgo splendens hic in monte celso (3:22)
Montserrat Figueras solo voice, choral director
Christophe Coin, Sergi Casademunt, Pere Ros fiddle, rebab, lyre, rotte
Hopkinson Smith lute, morisca
Lorenzo Alpert flutes, percussion
Bruce Dickey flutes, cornett
René Zosso hurdy-gurdy
Régis Chenut harp
Sally Smith psaltery
Jean-Pierre Mathieu trombone
Renate Hildebrand pommer
Atelier Vocal & Instrumental du Centre de l'Abbaye aux Dames
Dulcis Harmonia
Coral Carmina
Niños Cantores de Navarra
Escolania San Ignacio
CD3 [57:20]
COURT MUSIC AND SONGS

from the Age of the Discoverers 1492-1553
Villancicos from Cancionero de la Colombina (end of
the 15th century)
Anon: Niña y viña (1:34)
Anon: Propiñán de melyor (1:42)
Anon: Como no le andaré yo? (2:20)
Anon: Recercada (1:37)
Milan: Fantasia (2:15)
Milan: Pavana (1:52)
Villancicos from Cancionero de Palacio 1490-1530
Anon: Al alva venid, buen amigo (3:46)
Anon: Perdí la mi rrueca (2:22)
Anon: A los baños del amor (1:34)
Anon: Fantasia (1:39)
Anon: Romanesca (1:14)
Garcimuñós: Pues bien para esta (3:19)
Anon: Si avéis dicho, marido (1:58)
Romances from Cancionero de Palacio 1490-1530
Si d'amor pena sentís (5:09)
O voy (1:58)
Encina: Qu'es de ti, desconsolado? (5:30)
Recercadas sobre tenores
Ortiz: Recercada 4 (1:41)
Ortiz: Recercada 5 (2:19)
Ortiz: Recercada 6 (1:15)
Villancicos from Cancionero de Uppsala 1500-1550
Anon: Yo me soy la morenica (1:10)
Anon: Si la noche haze escura (3:46)
Anon: Soleta só jo ací (1:32)
Anon: Con qué la lavaré? (3:51)
Anon: Soy serranica (1:17)
Montserrat Figueras soprano
Jordi Savall tenor & bass viola da gamba, bowed
Saracen chitarra
Hopkinson Smith Renaissance lute, Saracen chitarra
Lorenzo Alpert recorder, percussion
Arianne Maurette, Pere Ros viola da gamba
Pilar Figueras bagpipe
Gabriel Garrido percussion
CD4 [51:05]
SEPHARDIC ROMANCES

from the Age before the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain 1492
Pregoneros van y vienen (5:05)
El rey de Francia tres hijas tenía (5:11)
Una matica de Ruda (2:49)
Palestina hermoza (1:31)
Nani, nani (6:04)
El rey que tanto madruga (3:05)
Por qué llorax blanca niña (7:30)
Moricos los mis moricos (2:57)
Lavava y suspirava (5:34)
Paxarico tu te llamas (1:49)
La Reina xerifa mora (5:55)
Por allí pasó un cavallero (3:02)
Montserrat Figueras soprano
Jordi Savall tenor & bass viola da gamba, bowed
Saracen chitarra
Hopkinson Smith Renaissance lute, Saracen chitarra
Lorenzo Alpert recorder, percussion
Arianne Maurette, Pere Ros viola da gamba
Pilar Figueras bagpipe
Gabriel Garrido percussion
CD5 [53:04]
RENAISSANCE MUSIC FROM THE NEAPOLITAN COURT
(1442-1556)

Music at the court of Alfonso I & Ferdinand I
Anon: Zappay (1:09)
Anon: Viva, viva rey Ferrando (3:30)
Ghizeghem: De tous biens plaine (3:08)
Cornago: Donde estas que non te veo (3:47)
Cornazano: Figlie Guilielmin (2:08)
Anon: Amor, che t'o fat hio (1:56)
Anon: Puis Fortuna (2:52)
Cornago/Ockeghem: Qu'es mi vida preguntays (4:58)
Pesaro: Collinetto (2:02)
Anon: Dindirindin (1:34)
Music from the reign of Charles V
Nola: O Dio se vede chiaro (3:23)
Torre/Ortiz: Il Re di Spagna (2:35)
Gombert: Dezilde al caballero (4:22)
Cabezón: Diferencias sobre el canto del caballero
(2:41)
Nola: Cingari siamo venit'a giocare (2:30)
Ortiz: Fantasia I - Fantasia II 'Salve Regina' (2:28)
Anon: Ay luna que reluzes (3:21)
Valente: Gallarda napolitana (2:05)
Willaert: Vecchie letrose (2:07)
Montserrat Figueras soprano
Jordi Savall treble & bass viole da gamba, vihuela de
arco
Sergi Casademunt tenor viola da gamba, vihuela de
arco
Paolo Pandolfo bass viola da gamba
Carol Lewis vihuela de arco
Roberto Gini vihuela de arco
Lorenzo Alpert flute, dulcian, percussion
Paolo Grazo chalumeau
Bruce Dickey cornett
Charles Toet tenor trombone
Harry Ries tenor and alto trombones
Richard Lister bass trombone
Robert Clancy vihuela de mana, guitar
Antonio Barbera percussion
CD6 [50:08]
ANTONIO DE CABEZÓN 1510-1566

Instrumental works
Himno XIX Pange lingua IV (3:04)
Pour un plaisir (Crecquillon) (1:58)
Diferencias sobre 'La dama le demanda' (3:30)
Tiento II. Cuarto tono (2:45)
Pavana con su glosa (2:19)
Fabordones del sexto tono (3:07)
Tiento VIII (2:42)
Quien llamo al partir, partir? (1:50)
Tres sobre la Alta (Spagna) (1:44)
Un gay bergier (Crecquillon) (2:38)
Diferencias sobre 'Las Vacas' (2:33)
Tiento IX. Quinto tono (2:40)
Para quien crié cabellos (3:06)
Tiento XIII. Fuga a cuatro (2:11)
Tiento VII. Cuarto tono (3:06)
Diferencias sobre la pavana italiana (2:23)
Je fille quant dieu me donne de quoy (Willaert) (2:33)
Tiento III. Primer tono (4:30)
Montserrat Figueras soprano
Jordi Savall treble & bass viole da gamba, vihuela de arco
Sergi Casademunt tenor viola da gamba, vihuela de arco
Paolo Pandolfo bass viola da gamba
Carol Lewis vihuela de arco
Roberto Gini vihuela de arco
Lorenzo Alpert flute, dulcian, percussion
Paolo Grazo chalumeau
Bruce Dickey cornett
Charles Toet tenor trombone
Harry Ries tenor and alto trombones
Richard Lister bass trombone
Hopkinson Smith vihuela de mana, guitar
Antonio Barbera percussion
CD7 [49:58]
CANCIONES Y DANZAS DE ESPAÑA (1547-1616)

Songs and dances from the time of Cervantes
Romances y danzas de moros y moras
Guerrero: La Perra mora (1 :35)
Pisador: Romance de Abindarráez: La Mañana de San Juan (3:59)
Mudarra: Fantasia y Gallarda (3:24)
Narváez: Romance del Tey moro que perdió Alhama (3:40)
Anon: Tres morillas m'enamoran (1:35)
Romances y madrigales cortesanos Mudarra: Conde Claros (1:57)
Vásquez: Romance de Don Beltran: Los braços traygo cansados (2:34)
Anon: Romance I: Pues non me quereis (1:04)
(Entablature: Henestrosa) Palero: Romance II: Mira, Nero de Tarpeya (1:48)
(Entablature: Henestrosa)
Guerrero: Dexo la venda (1:51)
Villancicos amorosos Vásquez: Quien amores tiene (1:30)
Anchieta: Dos ánades, madre (1:26)
Anon: Al rebuelo de una garça (1:31)
(Entablature: Henestrosa)
Ortega: Pues que me tienes, Miguel (2:55)
Rimonte: Madre, la mi madre (3:12)
Danzas y bailes para cantar y tañer
Ortiz: Folia VIII (1:47)
Flecha: La Gerigonza (baile cantando) (1:24)
(Entablature: Miguel de Fuenllana, 1554)
Martín y Coll: El Villano (1:54)
Anon: Seguidillas en eco: De tu vista celoso (1:55)
Santa Cruz: Jácaras (2:39)
Romero: Folia: A la dulce risa del alva (2:08)
Martín y Coll: Danza del hacha (1:36)
Arañés: Chacona: A la vida bona (1:44)
Montserrat Figueras soprano
Jordi Savall treble & bass viole da gamba
Hopkinson Smith vihuela de mana, guitar
Ariane Maurette tenor viola da gamba
Christophe Coin bass viola da gamba
Lorenzo Alpert flute, percussion
Gabriel Garrido percussion
CD8 [47:53]
EL BARROCO ESPAÑOL

Spanish secular music c1640-1700
de Milanes: Dexa aljava (3:14)
Marín: Aquella sierra nevada (2:41)
Hidalgo: Peynándose estaba un olmo (1:44)
Martín y Coll: Diferencias sobre las Folias (6:47)
Martín y Coll: La Chacona (5:12)
Martín y Coll: Canarios (0:37)
Hidalgo: Atiénde y da (2:59)
Hidalgo: Ay corazón amante (3:36)
Durón: Sosieguen descansen (5:20)
Cabanilles: Toccata (1:21)
Cabanilles: Gallarda (6:45)
Hidalgo: Con tanto respecto adoran (2:34)
del Vado: No te embarques (2:33)
Hidalgo: Ay que me rio de amor (1:53)
Montserrat Figueras soprano
Jordi Savall viola da gamba
Ton Koopman harpsichord
Hopkinson Smith guitar, theorbo
Christophe Coin viola da gamba
  HESPÈRION XX
Jordi Savall direction


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