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Early Music

Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Founder Len Mullenger

La Folia 1490-1701
ANONYME Folia: Rodrigo Martinez, 1490; Improvisations díaprès le villancico du CMP
Diego ORTIZ (1510 - 1570) Recercada Quarta sobre la Folia, 1553
Antonio de CABEZÓN Folia: Para quien crié cabellos, 1557; Díaprès Venegas de Henestrosa; Recercada Ottava sobre la Folia, 1553
Juan del ENZINA (1468- c.1530) Folia: Hoy comamos y bebamos, vers 1520; Improvisations díaprès le villancico de Juan del Enzina
Antonio Martìn y Coll Madrid Bibl. Nacional (1706-1709) Díaprès le Mss. Flores de Músia,1357-60
Arcangelo CORELLI (1653-1713) Op. 5 Roma 1700 MS. VM7 6308 Paris Bibl. Nationale
Marin MARAIS Second Livre de Pièces de Viole, Paris 1701

Jordi Savall, violes de gambe
Rolf Lislevand, vihuela, guitare et théorbe
Michael Behringer, clavecin, organo di legno et claviorganum
Arianna Savall, harpe triple
Bruno Cocset, basse de violon
Pedro Estevan, percussionAdela Gonzalez-Campa, castagnettes et grelots (cascabeles)
"Hybrid Stereo" - playable on a CD player and an SACD player but only stereo in both formats
Rec. 7-8 Sept 1998, Tibor Varga Studio, Switzerland and St Hippolyte à Castres, France.
ALIA VOX SACD AVSA 9805 [54:50]


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There is not a lot a reviewer can say about this disc beside explaining what it is and commenting on the performance and sound. There is nothing to compare it with since it is unique. It is a survey of some of the vast number of uses to which the Middle Ages dance-song La Folia was put during the dates 1409-1701. I refer to the expert commentary, typical of Alia Vox issues, by Rui Vieira Nery of Lisbon University. He (she?) says that the dance-song is first mentioned in a treatise of 1577 and is confirmed to be of Portuguese origin. The word "folia" means "wild amusement" and "insanity" and encapsulates the lively and celebratory nature of the music.

The amazing Jordi Savall performs the above pieces with his usual skill along with other instrumentalists as listed. Each piece is, in effect, a set of variations on La Folia. The piece itself is established in the listenerís mind by the first few items gathered under the general title of I Folias Antiguas which my non-existent Portuguese tells me must mean "Early Examples of La Folia". Thereafter we come more up to date with Corelliís famous Sonata Op.5 No.12 in an arrangement for gamba, bass and keyboard, and finally to the large Couplets de Folies of 1701 by the great violist Marin Marais.

The recording as a CD and an SACD (almost indistinguishable to my ears) is perfect, the notes detailed and intelligent, the performances quite wonderful. I loved it. After a couple of hearings I found myself listening to other versions of the Corelli (the original for violin and Geminianiís arrangement of it as a Concert Grosso) and then went in search of "Tous les Matins du Monde" the Gérard Dépardieu film about Marin Marais. Sadly that turned out to be (inexplicably) unavailable on DVD. A beautiful disc for salving the soul.

Dave Billinge

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