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Ninna Nanna

Montserrat Figueras Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
Price: £14.25 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Audio CD (3 Feb 2003)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Alia Vox
  • ASIN: B000071XAC
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 62,710 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Cancao de embalar: Jose embala o menino - Jordi Savall
2. Lullaby: My Secret Sweet Darling - Anon
3. Dors mon bebe - Anon
4. Berceuse Ladino: Nani, nani - Anon
5. Berceuse Amazigh - Anon
6. Lullaby: Come pretty babe - William Byrd
7. Canzonetta spirituale sopra la nanna Hor ch'e tempo di dormire - Tarquinio Merula
8. Canco de bressol: Mareta, mareta no'm faces plorar - Anon
9. Chanson d'une malheureuse mere. Imite de L'ecossais - Johann Friedrich Reichardt
10. La chambre des enfants - Modest Mussorgsky
11. Berceuse Hebraique: Noumi, noumi yaldati - Anon
12. Berceuse de Noel - Arvo Part
13. Maria Wiegenlied: Maria sitzt am Rosenhag - Max Reger
14. Nana: Duermete, nino duerme. - Manuel de Falla
15. Berceuse Hebraique: Dors, dors - Darius Milhaud
16. Nana de Sevilla: Est galapaguito - Federico Garcia Lorca
17. Berceuse Estonienne: Kuus, kuus kallike - Arvo Part
18. Canco de Bressol: La mare de Deu - Anon

Product Description

BBC Review

From ancient times, the lullaby has been one of the most intrinsic musical forms, present among all human communities, without exception. Its characteristic emotion and sensitivity make it the oldest expression of affection and tenderness known to music. It is like food to the young child lulling him to placid, restoring sleep, transporting him to a dream world of peace, beauty and love'.

Montserrat Figueras's foreword to the five centuries of lullabies that follow, chosen with her husband Jordi Savall. Not everyone I know would find Figueras's unique soprano the ideal starting point for an undisturbed night and the sweetest of dreams - a kind of Catalan Emma Kirkby, but with a middle-eastern folk singer's ability to stretch pitches, play with tunings and add ornamentation. I confess I love it, and here there's an other-worldly, timeless quality to the voice that seems to encapsulate that strange, semi-conscious place before deep sleep where anything is possible in the imagination.

The opening sequence is in some ways the most remarkable. First an anonymous Portuguese devotional lullaby, in which Joseph rocks the baby Jesus because Mary is busy washing clothes...leading into a 16th century English lullaby with viol accompaniment, sung with a quaint Catalan accent...then we're in Greece, where the voice acquires a very different quality, caressing the words with eastern ornaments and swooping skywards at the ends of the phrases, over the sounds of the santur (dulcimer). A growling drum introduces a Sephardic berceuse from early 16th century Morocco, and voice and flute curl lasciviously around each other as the mother soothes her child to sleep, with the startling news that she's locked the door to keep her husband out, as she knows he's returning from a liaison with another woman. Then the oud (Arabic lute) sets up a swaying rhythm for a haunting lullaby from the Berbers of the High Atlas mountains in North Africa; not so comforting, this one: the moon allows itself to be carried on a man's back, so unhappy, hungry and sleepy that all of nature shivers with cold -what a shock it is to find ourselves back on familiar territory straight afterwards, with the sounds of a viol consort and Byrd's lullaby 'Come, pretty babe'.

It's not all early: there's a Mussorgsky song from The Nursery, with pianist Paul Badura-Skoda, one of Falla's Canciones populares Españolas from 1914, and a melancholy tale of an orphan gypsy from Seville, collected by the poet Federico García Lorca. Theres Milhaud, Max Reger, and a Russian Christmas lullaby from Arvo Pärt and Pärt provides an Estonian lullaby specially for the collection, performed by Figueras and her daughter Arianna Savall: a perfect example of the gently hypnotic magic cast by the best cradle songs.

In fact the whole disc is spell-binding, from ancient Sephardic and middle-eastern tradition, through 16th century England to Pärt in 2002, and back home for the Savall family in the form of the final Catalan song. There's a touching personal stamp to the entire project, not just the involvement of family and friends, but the feeling that the Savalls are giving you a tour of some of their favourite musical territory in simple pieces that touch their hearts. Presentation on the Savall's own record label is lavish, and the recording itself is beautifully done, subtly atmospheric.

Should you be looking for peace in troubled times... --Andrew McGregor

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Far from sleep-inducing 9 Feb 2003
Format:Audio CD
This disc is as gorgeous a collection of songs as you're going to find. Ms Figueras' singing is wonderful, the songs are beautiful, Jordi Savall's playing is [insert hyperbolic adjective here]. You get the picture. There is even some unashamedly happy music from Arvo Part. And the rest of the disc is no less miraculous than that.
The songs are from a variety of European musical cultures and periods, from the Sephardic diaspora of the sixteenth century to Estonia last winter. And absolutely none of it is as soppy as a disc of lullabies threatens to be.
A disc that will illuminate your life. Get it as soon as you can.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mesmerizing music for the heart 18 Oct 2003
Format:Audio CD
Rarely has there been a more beautiful collection of lullabies than those presented in Ninna Nanna. Clearly a labour of love of Montserrat Figueras and her family, it brings together songs that mothers have been singing to their infants over the centuries - whatever their culture or language. “It is like food for the young child” reflects Montserrat Figueras in her dedication, the most intense reflection of affection and tenderness.
Lullabies in this collection, come from cultural backgrounds as diverse as Russia, Morocco, Greece, England and, of course, the Iberian Peninsula. They span from the Renaissance to contemporary music. Most of the musical versions have been masterly arranged by Jordi Savall, suited to fit the extraordinary voice of his wife. We also find some arrangements by well-known composers such as Moussorgski, Reger or de Falla.
Being lullabies, the songs show similarities: above all their tunes are beautifully soft and melodious. Yet, the tunes show considerable diversity in rhythm and tonality. Some are melancholy and almost haunting, others joyful and jubilant. Montserrat Figueras’ voice is, as always, in a class of her own, radiating with richness and intensity. The music touches the deeper cords in the listener’s consciousness. Her voice is superbly and sensitively accompanied by Hesperion XXI, the accomplished team of musicians under the leadership of Jordi Savall.
The informative booklet accompanying the CD is well presented and includes the songs’ texts in eight languages, including the original. This is a CD you will not get tired to listen to many times, whether you play it for your children, your family and friends, or just for yourself. [Friederike Knabe, Ottawa, Canada]
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Have-One 18 Mar 2004
Format:Audio CD
This is the disk I'd carry alone to a desert island...
It includes the brilliant performance of Monserat and Hesperion XXI interpreting lullabies from all over the Mediterranean.
We can clearly compare the musical differences between each region represented. Some songs aren't actually lullabies but the theme is always the relation between the mother and the baby.
No words can, however, describe the listning experience this cd provides you.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exquisite gem of a desert island CD 10 Jun 2005
By Sator
Format:Audio CD
Every time I catch sight of a Vox Alia CD with its distinctive packaging I find resistance is futile and I end up buying it. This gorgeous collection of lullabies delivered much more than I had ever dreamt possible.
What gives this CD its magic is the fact that this is music making amongst friends and family. In fact the record label is Jordi Savall's own, Monserat Figueras is his wife, and Arianna Savall his daughter - so it really is an all family affair. The whole of Hesperion XXI play like they know each other intimately and we are just privileged eavesdroppers who were lucky enough to have overheard them. If some of the major record labels are increasingly marketing their music like MacDonalds hamburgers then this is like being invited to dine at a lovely family run Spanish restaurant. There is a heartwarming homeliness here the majors could never emulate in a hundred years. So it is entirely appropriate that this should be a collection of lullabies, for this is a celebration of family intimacy of the most deeply poetic and affectionate kind.
The selection of music might strike a casual listener as being unusual - exotic is a better term - yet they are all so instantly attractive that I think this would make a lovely gift (especially given the beautiful booklet that comes with it) to a child, a mother, a partner, a friend, a music lover; even people who know nothing about the composers here would surely be enchanted. I was particularly delighted by the reviewer who wrote that her daughter listened to this at night - oh, how fortunate it would be to grow up with music like this with its imaginatively chosen collection of music from so many countries and centuries - you would carry this music in your heart for the rest of your life!
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