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Isabel I, Reina De Castilla
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Isabel I, Reina De Castilla

La Capella Reial De Catalunya, Hespèrion Xxi, Jordi Savall
1 Jan. 2004 | Format: MP3

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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 1 Jan. 2004
  • Release Date: 1 Jan. 2004
  • Label: Alia Vox
  • Copyright: (c) 2004 Alia Vox
  • Total Length: 1:17:33
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001G1IKHC
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 99,289 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Keen Reader TOP 50 REVIEWER on 24 Mar. 2013
Format: Audio CD
Isabel I of Castile (1451-1504) was a remarkable woman. Her accession to the throne of Castile was unlikely at the time of her birth, but her remarkable character, and her marriage to Ferdinand of Aragon created a union which the disparate kingdoms of what is now Spain had never before achieved. Isabel had, on the whole, a rather unahppy life but was very pious, and her duty as Queen took her through some fairly turbulent times in Spanish history. Her daughter, Catherine was Henry VIII's first wife, and another of her daughters Juana was mother of the future emperor Charles V, and unfortunately spent many of her years insane and imprisoned. It was also during Isabel and Ferdinand's reign that Columbus sailed to America, and the last Moorish kingdom on the Peninsula was conquered.

The music of Castile, Aragon and the other kingdoms of Spain during this period is hauntingly beautiful; pious, yet musically uplifting, beautiful, lyrical and totally haunting. During this period secular polyphony as well as religious repertoire flourished and was recognised by the King and Queen. And there is really no better way to experience it than through the empathetic and beautifully realised renditions brought to us here by La Capella Reial de Catalunya and Hesperion XXI under Jordi Savall. Their experience in realising early music and bringing it to life for a new twenty first century audience is unparallelled.

The music, for which there is currently a track listing available on Amazon, takes us through Isabel's life. From the first piece, set against the birth of Isabel in 1451, to the last piece, against the death of Isabel in 1504, the music presented here is absolutely wonderful. There are songs, romances, and dances. The booklet has a full outline of the music and the times. This is a wonderful cd, and the evocation of a remarkable woman's life through the music of her time is a great way to experience this music. Totally recommended.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Aquinas on 21 Mar. 2010
Format: Audio CD
This CD is like a soundtrack (and a thoughtful one at that) to a movie of the life of Isabel I. We are taken on a journey through the historical events taking place in her lifetime. The CD starts takes us from:

a beautiful anonymous piece: "Exultet Caelum laudibus",

a jaunty Turkish tune (recognising the signficiant events of 1453 and the fall of Byzantium. This is important because the CD takes the islamic theme up again near the end with a beautiful lament for the expelled muslims showing a kind of symmetry; and

finishing on a a beautiful requiem by Pedro de Escobar.

In many ways this is an extrordinary album with its range of musical styles - Gregorian chant influenced music, sacred music for the mass and the most beautiful folk like tunes togehter with eastern inspired music.

This all leads to a very moving experience!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Woodman on 2 Nov. 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A brief review - very enjoyable album, with one absolute stand-out track. The "Requiem aeternam" by Pedro de Escobar is one of the most extraordinary pieces of polyphony you will ever hear. I bought the CD principally for this track - make your day and listen to the preview of it on Amazon.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 6 reviews
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Historically questionable, but fabulous performances nevertheless 23 May 2005
By Maddy Evil - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Following in the footsteps of his release devoted to Emperor Charles V, Jordi Savall and his ensemble once again envisage the life of one of Spain's most important monarchs, here Isabella of Castile (1451-1504), through a hypothetical 'illustration in sound' of the major events of her life. Connoisseurs will undoubtedly be familiar with a number of these pieces, many from previous Savall recordings (Palacio, Encina, Colombina discs). Alongside the Spanish works (villancicos, romances, sacred music), the programme also includes examples of Turkish and Sephardic music. The CD is exquisitely packaged and includes a 95 page booklet in 6 languages, complete with full song texts and numerous illustrations (facsimile reproductions, etc).

As on many other recordings by this ensemble, it is clear that historical accuracy is secondary to an overall aesthetic result, and it is not difficult to understand why Savall's approach has ruffled many musicologists. For example, whereas most of the works on this recording were almost certainly performed by a small group of musicians, perhaps most often "a cappella" (unaccompanied voices), Savall reimagines them here with the accompaniment of a colourful array of instruments - Renaissance viols, alta band (shawm, cornett, sackbuts), oud, psaltery, bells and arabic percussion. In addition, several tracks have 'composed' introductions (tracks 1, 4, 10, 13) or even added parts (track 6), and others are anachronistically renamed simply for the purpose of Savall's 'programme' (e.g. the cancion 'In exitu Israel de Egipto' appears here as 'Toccata' [track 3], a term which doesn't appear before 1536 and which is predominantly associated with keyboard works). Elsewhere, certain pieces are refashioned so freely that they bare almost no resemblance to the original whatsoever, as is the case with the moorish-inspired rendition of 'Paseabase el Rey moro' (track 12), originally for just 1 singer and vihuela ('Los seys libros del Delphin...', Valladolid, 1538). Incidentally, this romance also postdates the event to which Savall connects it - the Castilian occupation of Alhama in 1482 - by some 55 years, and other works have an equally improbable connection to the historical events with which they are paired: the 'Marcha turca' (track 2), for example, comes from an early 18th-century manuscript (the 'Kitabu Ilmi'l-musiki' of Dimitrie Cantemir [1673-1723], although the piece may have originated before 1700 in oral traditions), and the French rondeau 'Je ne vis onques' (track 5) seems a strange choice for the birth of Juana la Beltraneja, the alleged daughter of Henry IV of Castile and Joana of Portugal, given that it has no real connection to either Castile or Portugal (most specialists also believe that the likely composer was actually Binchois, not Dufay).

On the other hand, in spite of all these gripes, it is also clear why Savall's group have been greeted with such acclaim by non-academics - music critics and the public alike. After all, what is lacking in musicological accuracy here is certainly compensated for by the passion and enthusiasm which Savall and his group impart to the listener - few, indeed, have done more to make early Spanish repertoire appeal to a wider audience. It goes without saying that the level of musicianship is of the highest order, unsurprisingly given the personnel line-up (comprising, amongst others, Carlos Mena, Jean-Pierre Canihac, Markus Tapio and Andrew Lawrence-King). Incidentally, there are also a few tracks whose interpretation may not be so entirely implausible after all, particularly if one takes into account the exaggerated political overtones of some of them: indeed, a thorough investigation of such romances and villancicos has yet to be undertaken (examples on this recording include tracks 7, 10, 13 and 16). Would pieces like Juan del Encina's 'Triste Espana' (track 18) always have been heard by merely a few unaccompanied singers in the private chambers of Ferdinand and Isabella...?

In the end, if you can turn a blind eye to musicological fidelity, the sheer vivacity of these performances will certainly carry you away.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
It's a gem! 21 Nov. 2006
By Weesel - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Interesting mix of styles at work here. Paseabase El Rey Moro is particularly pleasing. Montserrat lends true feeling to this piece as she sings the part of the Moorish king. Her recitation of the old man's 'Dutch uncling' is unexpected and equally passionate. All this is punctuated by a musical style that never loses its Moorish influence but changes, oh so subtly, into a more 'European' mode. In direct contrast, Begona's performance of Canció en ritmo Quddan de la Nuba Gribt: Al Hussein de Marruecos is equally compelling. The voices are married perfectly to the styles of the music. In short, if you like Iberian music of this period (circa 1492), get the album. You will not be disappointed.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Review: Isabel I: Reina de Castilla 27 July 2005
By RPT - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This is a meticulously designed and recorded compilation that provides a delightful introduction to music of the late 15th and early 16th centuries . The CD includes both instrumental and vocal compositions that are performed with considerable expertise and verve. The package contains an illustrated booklet that includes an essay on the history of the period and full lyrics but, alas, is rather weak on details regarding the music other than to place it in historical context.
Music to mark an influential, complicated and controversial reign... 5 Nov. 2014
By ewomack - Published on
Verified Purchase
Most people living westwards from Europe across that massive Atlantic pond know Queen Isabella as the patron of Christopher Columbus who, from the European view, "discovered" the American continent. But many of the vast populations that already inhabited that land saw and continue to see Isabella's most famous protégé as an invader and a brutal conqueror. That now famous (or infamous) western year, 1492, also saw the expulsion of Spain's Jewish population and the final defeat of Granada over the Moors. Isabella played a central role in all three events. Allied with her also famous husband Ferdinand, this royal duo oversaw one of the most influential and controversial reigns in Spanish history. These years also produced incredible music and the Spanish record label Alia Vox has marked this era with the third volume of its "Musicas Reales" series. Similar to the previous installments, "Carlos V" and "Alfons V," this one follows the life, rule and significant historical events of a single monarch. Each song represents an event in the life of Isabella from her birth in 1451 through the tumultuous year of 1492 to her death in 1504. The experience transcends music and introduces a historical dimension. Of course, as with other Alia Vox collections, the musical quality never veers from stupendous.

Those looking for historical accuracy may find more than some liberties taken throughout, as many of the arrangements and tempos do seem enhanced for modern audiences. Nonetheless, no one can doubt the incredible power of the albums's first track "Exultet Cealum Laudibus" that begins with an enticing but almost hesitant bell ring. Soon after, the piece explodes into a Cathedral of sound that surrounds the brain in a cloud of ecstatic harmony. This energy never lets up, even when the arrangements become relatively minimal such as on the gorgeously lilting "Pavana (Pues que jamás olvidarlos)" that marks the coronation of Isabella in 1474 and "Bassa & Alta Danza 'Mappa Mundi'" representing Colombus' voyage. The sadly now late Monserrat Figeuras lends her mystical vocals to many tracks, including the melancholic "Paseabase el Rey moro" with its defeated refrain of "Ay mi Alhama!" and the even more tragic "Lavava y suspirava" in memory of the Jews expelled from Spain in 1492. A lighter moment comes later with "Françeses, ¿por qué rrazón?" in which the French army receives a good Spanish taunting for supposed cowardice and drunkenness at the battle of Roussillon. "Patres Nostri Peccaverunt" ominously marches in the Inquisition, which was also established during Isabella's reign. The final song, "Requiem Aeternam," serves as an eulogy for Isabella and almost turns mourning into a tangible and immediate experience. One of the album's starkest arrangements allows the arching vocals to soar and float on a riveting sonic stream that nearly feels discorporate. Indescribable moments like these doubtlessly brings many back to Alia Vox's vast catalog yearning for more. Perfectly accurate historically or not, the music and performances justify themselves all throughout this album's almost seventy-eight minutes. Much of it remains unforgettable.

"Isabel I Reina De Castilla" continues Alia Vox's solid tradition of great music wrapped in history. As always, the booklet included with the CD contains detailed information in French, English, Spanish, Catalan, German and Italian (including some lyrics in Latin), and photos of historic documents, including illuminated manuscripts and musical scores. The CD's quality hasn't diminished an iota in the ten years since its release. "Musicas Reales" volume four was released in 2009 as a double CD all-instrumental set (with some reruns) entitled "Royal Minstrels." Given the amazing music contained in this series so far, one can only hope for more installments and soon.
who does not want to know how the music sounded ... 11 Jan. 2015
By rod - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
who does not want to know how the music sounded at the time this part of the world was discovered!
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