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El agua y los árabes
Locura de amor; Jardin del paradiso; Cancion del agua; Poder y belleza del agua; Agua furtiva; Ave acuática; Lamento del agua; Preludio del agua; Estrella de agua; Enamorado del agua; Juez del agua; Alegria del agua; Luz del agua
Eduardo Paniagua and others
rec. April 2008
PNEUMA PN1100 [59:48]
Experience Classicsonline

This disc takes its place as the latest of an imaginative sequence exploring the cooling-melting points of Iberian and Islamic musical culture. Spain's forced conjugation with Arabic culture benefited both and transformed Spanish music for all time. It was a classic example of fusion which even the expulsion of the Muslim caliphate could do nothing to destroy. 

Here across fourteen tracks we hear traditional Arabic music for solo voice, laud, violin, viola, flute, drums, tambourines and other instruments. These sounds mingle with the plash and bubble of the fountains of the Alhambra, Partal and the Generalife. Some of these names are known from holidays in Spain or from de Falla’s Nights in the Gardens of Spain. 

The sound of the fountains was recorded on location and is used with as much prominence as the instrumental contribution. The stream of water is mostly fast and  regular. Only occasionally is it dripping dank as in Cancion del agua. The sound of water in motion is not the only backdrop - listen to the bristle of birdsong in Poder y belleza del agua and the crickets and frogs in Ave acuatica and the wildfowl in Enamorado del agua. 

The music is predominantly slow and mesmerising as in the courtly dance of Preludio del agua. Some of this music will ring familiar with devotees of court and troubadour pieces of the medieval era. This is not a surprise given that crusader travels brought musicians into contact with the sounds of North Africa and the Mediterranean east and south. 

The disc is presented in a card digipack with minimal background notes. 

This peaceful exotic music, in its simplicity and otherworldliness, has the power to charm and enchant. Don’t underestimate it. 

Rob Barnett

Related releases (see Pneuma website)

Pneuma PN320 El Agua de la Alhambra - The Water of the Alhambra
Pneuma PN1050 Agua de Al-Andalus


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