Jordi Savall, performer, researcher, and promoter of early music, has become known for beautifully produced thematic collections organized around topics as diverse as the worlds of Miguel Cervantes, Christopher Columbus, and Caravaggio, performed by his ensembles Hespèrion XX (and XXI), and La Capella Reial de Catalunya, and recorded on his own label, Alia Vox. This immensely ambitious project, Jerusalem: City of the two peaces: Heavenly Peace and Earthly Peace, consists of two SACDs and a sumptuous book in eight languages, French, Spanish, English, Catalan, German, Italian, Arabic, and Hebrew, that includes a wide assortment of intriguing essays.
The subject of Jordi Savall's latest historical exploration is the life of the 16th-century missionary Francisco Javier, better known outside the Spanish-speaking world as St Francis Xavier. He was one of the founders of the Jesuits, and travelled widely through the east, eventually reaching Japan and the islands of China, where he died. Savall's compilation uses the historical staging posts of Javier's life and times, from his birth in Navarre to the start of his missionary travels as the scaffolding for a typically imaginative and exotic sequence of musics, which begins in the Spain of Ferdinand and Isabella and ends with the traditions of Japan and China. Like its predecessors, which were centred upon Christopher Columbus and Don Quixote, the musical performances by Savall's ensemble Hesperion XXI and his usual lineup of soloists, complemented here by Japanese performers, is packaged lavishly within the covers of a glossily illustrated 264-page book with texts in five languages. The multilingual presentation doesn't make it easy to find one's way around, but the discs themselves are vividly performed, and their variety is beguiling.
This remarkable release, comprising two CDs and a book of 270 pages with information in Spanish, English, German, Italian, Catalan, Arabic, and Hebrew, is a veritable history lesson in music, poetry, and literature about Spain, as well as Christopher Columbus and his voyages and times. The title of the set, Lost Paradises, refers to the cessation of the period during which all three traditions - Jewish, Muslim and Christian - worked together to create greatness. The music, pre-baroque and sounding very exotic indeed, is exquisitely performed, sometimes by itself and sometimes in conjunction with the reading of a text. The Moorish and Sephardic music is particularly colorful, but the more familiar, "early" music is just as ravishing. With repertoire both sacred and profane, featuring dances and dirges, Savall, in his notes, is attempting to make us pay heed to the past so that we may form our futures: This isn't as pedantic as it sounds, but it is certainly more than an afternoon of great music listening. What a stunning gift this would make - either to yourself or others.
Although from different generations and styles, the three works on this disc are a good sample of Madrid’s avant-garde and musical concerns of the last thirty years, preoccupations and creative concepts which, from the traditional and classical reminiscences of Tomás Marco’s Concierto para violonchelo y orquesta (1974-1976), culminate and come to fullness in the perfect and meticulous language of Olavide’s Tránsito (1992) and Adagio con variaciones (sobre un Adagio de Hugo Wolf) by Alfredo Aracil (1997).
Hi fellows. This cd is a good introduction to Spanish composers, specially those ones who come from Madrid. Enjoy!!
Olavide studied composition initially with Victorino Echevarría at the Conservatorio Superior de Madrid, then in Belgium at the conservatories of Antwerp and Brussels. He attended the Darmstadt Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik where he worked with Pierre Boulez and Luciano Berio, and later studied with Karlheinz Stockhausen and Henri Pousseur at the Second, Third, and Fourth Cologne Courses for New Music in 1964–65, 1965–66, and 1966–67. For twenty years he lived and worked in Geneva, returning to Spain in 1991. Olavide composed orchestral, chamber, solo, and electronic music. In 1986 he received the Premio Nacional de Música, and in 2001 the Premio Reina Sofia.