This project from Paul Van Nevel and the Huelgas Ensemble was inspired by the paintings of Franciso de Zurbarán, one of the masters of the Spanish Golden Age. His art was directed to a large extent by the then current obsessive goal of the mystical union of the self with the Church (acting as the embodiment of God). In the cloisters of Counter-Reformatory Spain, a ferment of religious zeal and a drive to achieve spiritual ecstasy was to be fuelled by powerful works in both art and music, uniting the temporal with the divine.
Spanish music of the period was of course heavily indebted to both Victoria and Palestrina, yet the old order was beginning to crack; the strict… Read more
The Hardanger fiddle is Norway's national instrument, and on this recording Knut Hamre and Benedicte Maurseth plays some of the earliest examples in existence. These venerable fiddles, dating from between 1651 and 1751 are heard both in solo and ensemble contexts, accompaniment coming in the form of organ (one of Norway's oldest) as well as viola d'amore and percussion.
The atmosphere created is raw but intimate, the ancient folk tunes echoing on down the ages with a simplicity and directness which is both beguiling and very moving. At times the music is reminiscent of the Bartok violin duos, and perhaps the composer heard sounds distantly related to these in the old Magyar folk… Read more
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