We know now that Purcell's three Funeral Sentences were not written for the funeral of Queen Mary in 1695. Following the tradition of the English court, it was pieces by Thomas Morley, originally written for the funeral of Elizabeth I, that were sung there. Purcell's only contribution to the ceremony was the composition of two pieces for slide trumpets (March and Canzona), and the anthem in the archaic style Thou knowest, Lord. During the funeral procession to Westminster Abbey, a band of oboes played two marches written by John Paisible and Thomas Tollet. This recording assembles the music composed for the funeral of Queen Mary and that used at the funeral of Elizabeth I in 1603.
A homage to the memory of victims of the slave trade. This new multicultural project from Jordi Savall and his musicians on The Routes of Slavery (1444-1888) marks a world first in the history of music and of the three continents involved in the trade in African slaves and their exploitation in the New World, which are brought together through the early music of the colonial period, the musical traditions of Mali and the oral traditions of the descendants of slaves in Madagascar, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico. This 'Musical Memoir' is accompanied with historical texts on slavery, beginning with the early chronicles of 1444 and concluding with texts written by the Nobel Peace Prize-winner Martin Luther King shortly before his assassination in 1968.
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.
The works on this 2-CD set all come from a single source: a document called "Cancionero de Montecassino" which is believed to contain works composed between 1430 and 1480. Somehow the document has survived down through the centuries; it was almost lost when the Abbey where it was stored was bombed in 1944. Luckily the document survived so that this amazing CD set could be recorded by the - also amazing - Le Capella Reial de Catalunya. This CD is the second in a series entitled "Musicas Reales", the first of which being "Carlos V" containing works mainly from the 16th century. If you enjoyed that one, then "Alfons V el Magnanim" will be a welcome addition to your CD spinner.
Although the first full consort of viols did not arrive in England until 1540, there were actually several intriguing examples of what are now called "consort" music from before that time. Of course, the homogenous viol consort became supreme, and the present program (also featuring some 2-lute arrangements) focuses on the first part of that repertory. This developed at Elizabeth's court in the 1570s & 1580s, among professional musicians, but based on relatively restrictive models. Some pieces in the present program are composed freely, heralding the next step in consort development which, along with the small output of Byrd, allowed the English consort idiom to fully flower. Of course that was followed closely by the even larger and more famous repertory of consort music by composers such as Gibbons which was eventually geared more toward amateur players.
The 'Missa Salisburgensis à 53 voci' (in comparison, 'Spem in alium' was written by Thomas Tallis for «only» 40 voices) is perhaps the largest-scale piece of extant sacred Baroque music, an archetypical work of the Colossal Baroque. It is a polychoral composition which takes advantage of the multiple organs and various locations available for groups of singers and musicians to perform in Salzburg Cathedral, probably for the 1682 celebrations marking the 1100th anniversary of the founding of the Archbishopric of Salzburg. This stunning recording features Jordi Savall’s ensembles at their best and fully reveals the «splendour» of this masterpiece. A recording of cosmic proportions that Jordi Savall has decided to illustrate with a celestial image of the Helix Nebula. Nothing less.