Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Crotchet   AmazonUK   AmazonUS

José MARÍN (1618 - 1699)
"Tonos Humanos" [14 songs]
Caprichos de amor [6.04; 8.15; 4.02; 3.55]
Lisonjear el dolor [3.08; 4.41; 5.09; 5.06; 4.31]
Mudanzas de amor [4.57; 5.25; 3.52; 3.48; 3.05]
Montserrat Figueras, soprano; Rolf Lislevand, guitars; Arianna Savall, harp;
Pedro Estevan, percussion; Adela Conzáles-Campa, castanets.
Notes in Français, English, Castellano, Deutsch, and Italiano, including texts and translations of all songs and photos of the artists.
Recorded at Studio Fondation Tibor Varga, Sion, Switzerland, 6 June 1997
HYBRID 2.0 STEREO SACD (playable on SACD players and on CD players)
ALIAVOX AVSA 9802 [65.58]

These pretty songs are all about love, requited and unrequited, and the first one hooks you with its charming tunefulness. (Figueras apparently sings a duet with herself in this number as no other voice credit is given) I have been critical of Montserrat Figueras’s technique in recent operatic productions, but here surround by her friends singing these lovely songs, her voice is under perfect control and delightfully expressive with "incredible graces" in the Spanish style. Also Figueras the scholar provides an interesting essay on the background of the music and the times.

Marín’s life sounds like a Dumas or Hugo novel: he was charged with forgery and several murders, arrested, tortured, sentenced to prison and to the galleys, miraculously surviving it all and apparently completely exonerated by the time of his death when he was celebrated in the press as having led an exemplary life. And there’s probably an interesting story somewhere as to how his manuscripts all ended up in the Fitzwilliam Museum, but this is not included here.

Your first thought might be that a disk of songs all by the same composer could be monotonous, nearly an hour of the same sound. Most disks of Renaissance music include works by a variety of composers. The performers on this disk all put forth a great deal of creative energy to prevent any sense of sameness from settling over this concert, and this disk would definitely not make good background music, but there’s no way around it — in an hour some of the same phrases and gestures do recur, some more than once. Spanish speakers and Spanish students will especially enjoy the disk because the words are so clearly enunciated and the music follows the texts so closely. Generally the mood moves from lyrical at the beginning to more dramatic at the close. The program is quite enjoyable and would make a valid live concert.

The sound is exceptionally vivid played either on a cd player or on an SACD player, but only on the SACD player do you hear the amazing clarity and crispness of the percussion and voice. There is a smoothness and realism to the SACD sound; by comparison even on a good system the cd sounds just a little edgy. On the SACD there is a sense of space — "air" — around each instrument all the time. Because of this, as on many SACDs, the percussion instruments play at a realistic lower volume level.

The packaging is unusually attractive and this disk could make a nice gift.

Paul Shoemaker

Return to Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.