Jordi Savall's exemplary performance of Handel's Water Music and Music for the Royal Fireworks is among the finest available on disc: refined and precise, but very big, with blood-stirring grandeur. This is just the kind of extroverted, rousing presentation that best highlights the music's open-air ceremonial function. Savall's Le Concert des Nations is essentially a chamber orchestra with double or triple winds, but the sound he elicits from the group is majestic and surprisingly powerful. The playing is crisp and the rhythmic articulation bracing, but the sound is never brash. In fact, more often than not it is seductively sensual, a heady integration of precision and supple, shapely phrasing. Handel left no authoritative edition of the score of Water Music and it has traditionally been divided into three suites, but Savall reorders the material into two suites, a decision that makes more sense in terms of key relationships and that sounds entirely satisfying.
Jordi Savall has brought us yet another treasure on his own Alia Vox label, this time a mixed bag of music by Reformation Era composers and a handful of slightly earlier works. It’s all taken from a concert program Savall gave last year under the aegis of “greatest hits of the court of Charles V”. The composers presented are mostly court musicians for that Holy Roman Emperor, but Josquin and Heinrich Isaac also are included, the latter as a nod to Charles’ grandfather, Maximilian I, who was responsible for getting Charles the crown. Savall combines his first-rate instrumental ensemble, updated to Hespèrion XXI, with his own vocal group, La Capella Reial de Catalunya. The results are captivating. Savall’s musicians are tops in the field, and their collective talents, constantly on display in this varied program, are simply a joy to hear.
A treasure map is needed to find one’s way through this release. The CDs and DVD, exquisitely encased in a beautiful book – full of facsimiles, photographs and essays as well as vocal texts in innumerable translations – contain performances of some of the most beautifully crafted, deeply spiritual music Charpentier ever wrote. Catherine Cessac, the foremost French authority on Charpentier, writes eloquently on the music and Savall on the impetus for the collection. The repertoire, inspired by the story of the Virgin Mary, is drawn from all periods of Charpentier’s life and reflects the different private and public circumstances of his employment, the musical resources available to him and occasions for which he composed. In several cases more than one performance, each with different personnel, has been included, hence the need for a map.
The first volume of Orient Occident - released in 2006 - turned out to be a landmark in Jordi Savall's discography. For the first time, the maestro explored an extra-European repertoire, demonstrating the same musicological expertise he had shown with composers like Marin Marais. The album soon became a best seller. The second volume in this exploration focuses on Syria, alternating instrumental and vocal pieces. Musicians from Syria, Lebanon and Israel play alongside Hesperion XXI and illustrate the artistic and humanist process we have come to expect from Jordi Savall.
Published in Rome in 1553 and re-discovered during the 20th-Century, the 'Tratado de Glosas' by Spanish composer Diego Ortiz offers, through many variations called 'recercadas', an unmatched panorama of the instrumental music of its time. The reissue of this 1990 album in the Heritage series enables us to listen to one of Jordi Savall’s best accomplishments, alongside Ton Koopman and Rolf Lislevand. On various themes, including 'La Folia' and 'Doulce memoire', Diego Ortiz and Jordi Savall demonstrate their science and their spirit of invention for our greatest entertainment!
This album is a tribute to Armenia and to the Armenian musicians who have played alongside Jordi Savall and his wife Montserrat Figueras over the past several years. The repertoire, culled from Hesperion XXI's fascinating live programs, ranges from lively to contemplative. All of the unique and powerful music on Armenian Spirit is beautifully played using traditional instruments including the duduk, an ancient double-reed instrument with a deeply moving sound quality. Jordi Savall illuminates this music with a faultless musical flair, driven by his endless curiosity and supreme musicianship. The disc is accompanied by a lavishly documented and richly illustrated booklet.
JS Bach and Vivaldi s' Magnificat's: desert island repertoire to illustrate the splendour of the orchestra Le Concert des Nations and choir of La Capella Reial de Catalunya. Jordi Savall offers a vivid and striking performance of these two masterpieces, recorded live at the Royal Chapel in Versailles in 2013. Each of them is introduced by a concerto by the same composer in the same tonality. The superlative performance of Pierre Hantaï in the Concerto BWV1052 is another jewel to the crown of this album. The bonus DVD features both Magnificats and Bach s Concerto.
This reissue in the Heritage Series - the original album was released in 1988 - enables us to hear the unique Montserrat Figueras singing a repertoire she embodies like nobody else : the traditional songs of Catalonia. This performance is the natural continuation of her exploration of the great works connected to Catalogne,eg: the Song of the Sybille or the Red Book of Montserrat (Gregorian manuscript): on this shore of Mediterranean Sea, traditional and "classical" repertoires are connected in a very intimate way. This album is a landmark of in the career of Montserrat Figueras: her innovative style of interpretation, characterised by great fidelity to the historical sources combined with an extraordinary creative and expressive power, sounds at its best.
Thanks to in-depth research into original manuscripts, Jordi Savall reveals the hidden beauties of Irish and Scottish music from 17th to 19th Century. The transcription from fiddle to baroque viol sounds so obvious that everyone realizes the closeness of traditional and ancient repertoires at once. Some of the pieces are irresistibly vivid and virtuosic, some are more melancholic-but all of them deserve the renasissance Jordi Savall offers them in this collection, where he partners with harp virtuoso Andrew Lawrence-King.