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Orient - Occident
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Orient - Occident

Hespèrion Xxi, Jordi Savall
1 Jan 2006 | Format: MP3

£6.49 (VAT included if applicable)
Also available in CD Format
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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 1 Jan 2006
  • Label: Alia Vox
  • Copyright: (c) 2006 Alia Vox
  • Total Length: 1:15:50
  • Genres:
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,903 in MP3 Albums (See Top 100 in MP3 Albums)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 15 reviews
96 of 96 people found the following review helpful
East meets West in an enticing program featuring one of the best Early Music ensembles around 15 Oct 2006
By Russ - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Fans of Early Music should be familiar with Jordi Savall and his highly polished and innovative Hespèrion XXI ensemble. Savall's releases on the Alia Vox label are usually theme based and contain a highly varied, excellently performed program of Early Music works. This release is no exception. In comparison with other Early Music anthologies, the geographical and temporal focus of this release is broader, with songs having origins from, among other places, Spain, Afghanistan, Italy and Morocco; with the compositional time period ranging from the 13th to 17th century.

Those who have followed Savall's previous releases will note that the composition of the ensemble is quite different on this recording. There is no vocalist accompaniment and wind participation is limited to a single transverse flute. But there are some rather distinctive additions here. Ensemble participants, on this recording, include ouds (Middle-Eastern lutes), an Afghan rubab (a lute with sympathetic strings), a santur (an Iranian dulcimer-like instrument), a wide variety of percussion instruments, and a vielle (played by Savall).

The program itself features alternating sequences of Eastern and Western compositions, illuminating the differences and similarities between the musical styles of such cultures. Some of the Western pieces are taken from the "Cantigas de Santa Maria" cycle or have their origins in the Istampittas of Medieval Italy. Some of the Eastern compositions were taken from a manuscript entitled "The Book of the Science of Music through Letters" written by the Ottoman musicologist Dimitrie Cantemir, while others were probably carried forward from a strong oral tradition.

My favorite Western compositions on the program include the lively Saltarello (Track 14) and the aggressive leaping melody of the Ductia (Track 2). While, on the other hand, my favorite Eastern compositions include the exotic Laili Djan (Track 7), the sensuous Mola Mamad Djan (Track 19) and the assertive, rhythmically-charged Turk melody, Makam Uzal Sakil 'Turna' (Track 21). Even though each composition can be designated with an "East" or "West" title, one of purposes in compiling this program was to show that the cultures and religions making their homes on the different sides of the Mediterranean were not always at odds with each other, and the exchange of ideas did take place. This exchange notably manifests itself through the fact that the first bowed instruments came from the East. Additionally, the melodies of Medieval Europe, filled with leaping intervals, ornamented phrases and syncopations, contain much in common with Eastern music. As an example, listen to the intricate melody of the Italian Istampitta: In Pro (Track 8). Throughout this program, the underlying beat of the darbouka, tambor and other percussion instruments serves as an unifying element between the East and West (the lively and virtuosic percussion playing on this recording deserves special mention).

As with Savall's previous releases, the playing, as well as the sound quality, is fantastic. Similar to the previous Hespèrion releases on Alia Vox, the disc is distinctively packaged within a tri-fold case, with picture laden program notes inserted in the front cover. In conclusion, this release is enthusiastically recommended to those who enjoy highly varied, and exciting early music programs; even to those who (think that they) have little or no interest in Eastern early music.

TT: 72:28
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Intriguing Music Between East and West 8 Feb 2007
By David A. Wend - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Jordi Savall and his Hesperion XXI are joined in this recording by seven musicians from Greece and Middle Eastern countries playing instruments that include the transverse flute, or tulak, the rubab, tablas, zir baghali and oud. I am a longtime admirer of Jordi Savall and Hesperion XXI and was very much intrigued by the goal of this CD to present the music of the medieval East and West showing how different cultures would influence each other. A piece from the Middle East is paired with one from the West and, indeed, one needs to keep the booklet handy to tell if the music is from a Muslim, Christian or Jewish tradition. It is simply a pleasure to hear the sounds produced by the various Middle Eastern and ancient instruments: the exotic rhythms, the beat of the drums and dancing melodies are a treat.

The disc is nicely recorded as all of the Hesperion XXI recordings have been. My only wish would have been for more information about each of the works on the disc and it would have been interesting to know something about the seven instrumentalists who joined with Mr. Savall. What we have in the booklet is an overview by Jordi Savall that does not go too deeply into the music we are hearing. This aside, Orient-Occident is a disc not to be missed.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Bridging the Gulf 29 Dec 2007
By D. Hughes - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Thanks to WFMT radio in Chicago, I was introduced to Hesperion XXI's re-
cording of Orient-Occident 1200-1700. The music is very listenable, the
packaging, which includes the art work and notes is both intelligent
and interesting. The concept and purpose of this album is Iberian music
from a time when three dominant cultures coexisted in something close to a golden age. To recreate a bygone time is folly, to remind ourselves
through music of the possibilities of peace in our time, is commend-
able. The selections are lively, beautiful plus sometimes exotic. The musicians perform expertly on period instruments. This album adds balance to my personal music collection; I'm certain it will do the same for yours. I heartily recommend Orient-Occident 1200-1700.
Most cordially
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Turkish Delight. 13 Feb 2007
By T. A. Strand - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It's one thing to be told about the cultural exchanges that have taken place in the Mediterranean region, and another to actually hear some of them. Besides the lesser known sounds of Afghanistan and the Ottomon Empire, this recording contains some "covers" of European medieval material probably known to afficianados of the genre, but with a seductive Levantine accent that makes one wonder what Moslem-Christian-Jewish harmonies could yet be made on a political level given the richness of this musical experience.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful Medieval & Later Mediterranean Music 28 Oct 2012
By AmeliaAT - Published on
Verified Purchase
I have been familiar with Hesperion XX & XXI and their early music CDs for years, so when I was looking for an album that had a similar feel as the Silk Road Ensemble's CDs (such as Silk Road Journeys - When Strangers Meet (Remastered)), I listened to the samples & bought Orient-Occident with no qualms. I haven't regretted it.

This is a fascinating and very "listen-to-able" album of instrumental music from about 1200 through around 1700 from countries around the Mediterranean and Middle East. The sound is exotic compared to much Western music, including pre-Baroque music, but I found it quite enjoyable to listen to, somehow both relaxing and energizing.

It is well-produced, with great clarity, and whatever device I've listened to it on, the MP3 album has sounded great. It's performed and produced with the same care as all of Hesperion & Jordi Savall's work.

This album is an excellent addition to an eclectic music collection. I highly recommend it.
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