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
Related releases (see Pneuma
Pneuma PN320 El Agua de la Alhambra - The Water of the
Pneuma PN1050 Agua de Al-Andalus