Customer Review

5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting masterworks from the Catalan national treasure, 6 Dec 2001
This review is from: Songs of Old Catalonia - Laments and Legends (Audio CD)
The music of Catalonia is among the richest in Europe,yet amazingly little-known outside its home-ground. Almost 1000 years of Catalan song are superbly represented in this masterly recreation by Jordi Savall, who as a veteran of the early music revival is particularly well-placed to fathom the historic music of his native country.The haunting bell-like voice of Montserrat Figueras,and the splendid musicianship of the vocal and intrumental ensemble of the Capella Reial combine to give performances which are always refined and moving,historically authentic ,and often rivetting in their intensity. The nine selections are divided between laments, legends(that is,historical epics) and lyrics.This is a rich and varied music which has learned something from church music and from the troubadors, yet can also be direct and simple ,like a lullaby or a carol. Particularly wonderful is the virtuoso SONG OF THE BIRDS,whose beautiful melody was played by Casals and admired by Stravinsky; and the final selection, the extraordinarily evocative Catalan National anthem THE REAPERS, which records the grim defeat of the Catalans in their 1640 uprising against Spanish oppression. Bon cop de falz! What other country sings so regularly (and with such dignity )of its national pain as the centre of its national identity? This is a surpassing work. In general production quality on this Franco-Spanish AUVIDIS CD is good,and only the liner notes leave something to be desired. To sum up: this is unusual, hauntingly beautiful music,superbly sung and played;and which should appeal to any unprejudiced listener,who is ready to explore the world of early music,to Barcelona and beyond...
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