Author Topic: Jordi Savall  (Read 14748 times)

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Offline Florestan

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Re: Jordi Savall
« Reply #80 on: December 19, 2019, 12:19:00 PM »
So Florestan, just to clarify your stance on HIP. A performer announces he is going to play Mozart's PC 24. He does not touch the piano but conducts the orchestra in what sounds suspiciously like The unanswered Question by Ives. Is that a perfectly fair interpretation of Mozart 24?

I'd be insulting your intelligence if I took this question seriously. Please don't insult mine by pretending you were asking it seriously.

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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Jordi Savall
« Reply #81 on: December 19, 2019, 02:54:50 PM »
Andrei, what do you think of his Luis Milan? It’s clearly more colourful than a correct version. Does it lose anything important, in your opinion?

I think that as far as understanding Savall’s values, his ideas, it’s not helpful to  get distracted into the specifics of AoF.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2019, 02:57:14 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Jordi Savall
« Reply #82 on: December 19, 2019, 03:00:42 PM »
His Cabezon is also interesting. In that case the composer specified a range of instruments - harp, keyboard, lute. All solo. But Savall is happy to turn them into ensemble pieces. Is there something important lost by that?
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Offline Florestan

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Re: Jordi Savall
« Reply #83 on: December 19, 2019, 03:00:50 PM »
Andrei, what do you think of his Luis Milan?

This is one of (many) Savall's recordings that I never heard.

Quote
It’s clearly more colourful than a correct version. Does it lose anything important, in your opinion.

I really don't know what the correct version is. If I'd like his version, it would be the correct one for me.

Quote
I think that as far as understanding Savall’s values, his ideas, it’s not helpful to  get distracted into the specifics of AoF.

I'm in complete agreement.
"Melody is the essence of music." --- Mozart

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Jordi Savall
« Reply #84 on: December 19, 2019, 03:03:07 PM »


I really don't know what the correct version is.



The correct version is one for lute.
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Offline Florestan

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Re: Jordi Savall
« Reply #85 on: December 19, 2019, 03:07:25 PM »
His Cabezon is also interesting. In that case the composer specified a range of instruments - harp, keyboard lute. All solo. But Savall is happy to turn them into ensemble pieces. Is there something important lost by that?

Nothing at all. On the contrary, there might be --- might, as in conjecture, remember? --- something to be gained. Something that Cabezon himself might not have objected to.





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Offline Florestan

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Re: Jordi Savall
« Reply #86 on: December 19, 2019, 03:08:50 PM »
The correct version is one for lute.

By this you mean it was originally published for lute, right?
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Jordi Savall
« Reply #87 on: December 20, 2019, 05:35:44 AM »
By this you mean it was originally published for lute, right?

Yes
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Re: Jordi Savall
« Reply #88 on: December 20, 2019, 07:47:52 AM »
Yes
I did not know that. I have never even heard them on anything but some form of harpsichord.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Jordi Savall
« Reply #89 on: December 20, 2019, 07:55:21 AM »
I did not know that. I have never even heard them on anything but some form of harpsichord.

It = Luis Milan's fantasias..
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Re: Jordi Savall
« Reply #90 on: December 20, 2019, 08:03:41 AM »
It = Luis Milan's fantasias..
Ah, I misread.

Offline San Antone

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Re: Jordi Savall
« Reply #91 on: December 20, 2019, 08:04:35 AM »
By this you mean it was originally published for lute, right?

Yes

Lute or vihuela?  I have heard these recordings:


Offline Mandryka

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Re: Jordi Savall
« Reply #92 on: December 20, 2019, 08:07:13 AM »


Lute or vihuela? 

Well one of the two. Vihuela actually. Not a Jordi type ensemble anyway, at least not as far as I know.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2019, 08:09:41 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Jordi Savall
« Reply #93 on: December 20, 2019, 08:08:23 AM »
Back on topic (and because of the topic), I listened to this one last night, it has been a while. The Fandango in here is brilliant.



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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Jordi Savall
« Reply #94 on: December 20, 2019, 08:15:16 AM »
Here's the booklet essay from the Milan recording, which puts some of the issues on the table quite well I think  -- I don't know how well the OCR has worked!

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The lack of a significant extant repertory for instru-mental consorts constitutes ones of the major gaps in our present knowledge of sixteenth-century Iberian music. The Trattado de glosas by Diego Ortiz (Rome, 1553) has been up to now the only known print from this period containing music explicitly attrib-uted to instrumental ensembles (in this case, a consort of viols). To this, however, a few other printed and manu-script sources must be added. Amongst these, we must stress the importance of the two manuscripts originally compiled in the last decade of the sixteenth century for the Chapel of the Duke of Lerma, and purchased in the mid- 1950s by the University of Utrecht. These two choirbooks, recently studied by the American musicolo-gist Douglas Kirk, contain a substantial number of works for minstrels, mostly untexted versions of assorted works of vocal polyphony, ranging form settings of psalms and other liturgical Latin items to French chansons, Italian madrigals and Spanish torsos and villancicos. The composers represented in both collection include the greatest Span-ish polyphonists of the sixteenth century, such as Morales, Guerrero or Alonso Lobo, as well as Philippe Rogier, Chapel master of the Royal Flemish Chapel of Madrid, and a few Italian authors.
Another corpus of compositions for instrumental ensembles in Iberian sources of this period corresponds to several series of untexted works based on contrapuntal elaborations of chant, for as many as six parts, and included in prints such as Juan Bermudo's Declaracibn de instrumentos musicales (Osuna, 1555), the anonymous collection of Villancicos de diversos autores (Venice, 1556), also known as the Uppsala Songbook, or Ferdinanclo de las Infanras's Plura modulationum
genera (Venice, 1579). These compositions were considered for a long time to be mere examples of academic counter-point exercises, but there is now little doubt concerning their actual instrumental nature. Indeed, Bermudo himself states that his works of this type were "made to be played and not to be sung" [Spanish original: ...digo esta 'mica ser hecha para tarter, y no para cantar).
However, even if we take into consideration this rather substantial repertory explicitly or implicitly assigned to instrumental consorts, there is nevertheless an obvious dis-crepancy between its volume and the much heavier num-ber of documentary references to instrumental ensemble activities in Portugal and Spain that we now possess. The payrolls of every major cathedral and collegiate church in the peninsula include many recorder, shawm, bassoon, cor-nett() and sackbut players. We also know that the main aristocratic families in both kingdoms had several virtuoso performer of woodwinds, viols, lute, vihirela, harp or harp-sichord at their service, and that they often performed together in ensembles of various combinations. If we add to these professional activities all the amateur music-mak-ing that took place at the time as part of cultural life of the courtly nobility (and even of the urban upper middle-class), this leads us to the question of what happened to the bulk of the repertory originally performed by these instru-ments and by their consorts.
The answer to this question lies, to a great extent, in the fact that instrumentalists were trained to adapt vocal music to their instruments directly from the original vocal choirbooks. Tombs de Santa Maria wrote in his Arte de taker fantasia (V allodolid, 1565-) that:
...to perform vocal polyphonic- works on the Clavichord is the origin and the source of all kinds of fruits and gains, as well as ofper forming skills for the player. (Spanish original: ...el poner obras de canto de Organo en el Monacordio es el origen y fiiente de donde nascen y proceden todos los fi-utos y prouechos. y todo el arte de taker para los eager para los tanedores...)-
Ten years earlier, in 1555, Juan Bermudo had expressed essentially the same view: 1 realise that there is in Spain a great amount of good music that can be used by (keyboard} players... (Spanish original: ...Bien tengo entendido auer en Espana much y Buena musica de la qual se pueden los taiiedores aprouechar...3
All the great Spanish and Portuguese musicians of the six-theen century who composed for keyboard instruments, from Goncalo de Baena to Antonio de VabezOn and Ant6nio Carreira, left us numerous examples of such instrumental intabulations of vocal polyphony, as did those who wrote and published for the vihuela, beginning with Luys de Milan, in 1536, followed by Luys de Narviez (1538), Alonso Mudarra (1546), Enriquez de Valcierrabano (1547), Diego Pisador (1552), Miguel de Fuenllana (1554) and Esteban Data (1576).
On the other hand, vocal works were certainly not the exclusive source of repertory for the instrumental ensem-bles of the period. In the preface to the 1570 edition of Antonio de Cabezon keyboard works, his son, Hernando de Cabez6n, specifically recommends these compositions for consort performance: Minstrels who are interested in doing so will also profit form this book, in which they will find inventive diminutions to previous
compositons and notice how freely each part is written without det-riment to the other parts, and they will see this in many motets, songs and faburdens that they will be able to perform  from this tablature with little difficulty. (Spanish original: ...Tambien se podran aprouechar del libro los curiosos menestriles, en uer inuenciones de glosas tratadas ocn verdad sobre la compuesto, y ver la licencia que tiene cada voz, sin prejuyzio de la otras partes,- y eso toparon en muchos motetes can-clones y fabordones que ellos taken, que con poca dificuldad podran sacar deste cifra en cato de organo.1
The instrumental repertory was therefore seen as a sort of basically common ground, available for performance by all kinds of instrumental combinations (the Italian music pub-lishers frequently used the convenient formula per ogni sorte di strumenti), and seemingly with just one practical rule: if a work fits your instrument or your consort, feel free to play it! Publications of compositions for solo instruments were nearly always announced as being intended for either key-board instruments (without any precise attribution to the organ, the harpsichord or the clavichord), the vihuela or the harp. These had in common the fact that they were all har-monic instruments, on which a polyphonic piece could be played, even if the particular technical nature of each of them naturally led CO unavoidable changes of the original printed music to take into account such peculiarities.
In a period in which our modern concept of Urtext was, of course, unheard of, these changes were entiretly accepted even when they meant that an instrument such as the harp, for instance, had to drop one of the internal melodic lines of minor significance in the polyphonic texture of a given composition, whenever the latter was too dense to be properly performed on this instrument. After all, the established performance practice of the time expected players, in any case, to insert substantial melodic alterations in the original, either as embellishments (the quiebros and redobles described by theorists such as Santa Maria and Bermudo) or as dimi-nutions (the glosas thoroughly exemplified by Ortiz).
We must admit that instrumental consort performances, both of vocal works and of pieces already intended for solo instruments, enjoyed the same degree of freedom. Besides the use of ornamentation and diminution, which was an essential part of any musical performance, be it vocal, instru-mental or mixed, each specific choice of instrumentation could imply further changes in the original model, ranging from suppressing or adding a polyphonic line to the basic contrapuntal structure to compressing a given melody with-in the range limitations of the instrument newly assigned to it. Certain features of instrumental writing that were idio-matically conceived for the keyboard or for the vihuela could thus be changed or even cut altogether whenever they were unsuitable to the new performance medium.
Unlike the keyboard repertory, vihuela music cannot easily be performed by another harmonic instrument or by an instru-mental ensemble directly from the printed source. Indeed, whereas the keyboard tablature systems in the peninsula were all based on principles of staightforward pitch notation, Spanish vihuela music was published in a type of tablature that does not directly indicate the note to be played, but rep-resents instead the various courses of strings and the appro-priate frets on the fingerboard against which they should be stopped in order to produce those notes. Therefore, players of other instruments can hardly read directly from the original
print, and a transcription into modern notation can raise con-siderable difficulties in establishing a systematic polyphonic texture throughout each piece.
An additional challenge lies in the choice of instruments itself. Except for the pieces in Ortiz's Trattado that are specifically attributed to the viol and the harpsichord, no models of instrumentation can be found in sixteenth-cen-tury Iberian sources of practical music. Literary sources, however, often provide us with detailed descriptions of the instrumental combinations then in use in courtly circles: in his work Los siete libros de la Diana (Lisbon, 1565), the Portuguese poet Jorge de Montemor mentions such con-trasting ensembles as four viols and a clavichord, three cor-nets and a sackbut, consorts of flutes and fiddles or even a curious association of a lute, a harp and a psaltery. Musical iconography, including choirs of angelic musicians depict-ed in religious paintings and scenes of courtly and domes-tic music-making, confirms this large gamut of possibil-ities. Such indications seem to authorize a great deal of creative experimentation in any contemporary attempt to reconstruct the consort practice of the time.
Luys de Milan's Libro de musica de vihuela de mano intit-ulado El Maestro (1536) is undoubtedly one of the most important prints of instrumental music in sixteenth-centu-ry Europe, as well as an essential testimony to musical life in the aristocratic circles of the Iberian Renaissance. Ger-maine de Foix, the second wife to King Ferdinand the Catholic, had married the Duke of Calabria after the latter's death and established in Valencia a vice-royal court which followed the most advanced models of humanistic courtly life developed in Renaissance Italy. Milan seems to  have been a major artistic personality at this court, and all his published works deal with various aspects of the local cultural ambience: in 1535 he wrote El juego de mandar, a book about the parlour-games of the nobility, and in 1561 he was to be the author of El Cortesano, a translated adap-tation of the famous bible of European Renaissance courtly life, the Count of Castiglione's Il Corteggiano. El Maestro must thus be considered as a paradigmatic musical mani-festation of the same aristocratic ideology.
The composer's concern with thoroughly exploring all the refinements of musical expression can be found in his use of very explicit indications of expressive nuances, particu-larly as regards tempo and agogics. The music often con-tains such written instructions as algo apriesa (somewhat quickly), compas a espacio (slow measure), or ni muy apriesa ni muy a espacio sino con un compas bien mesura-do (neither very quickly nor very slowly, but rather with a well-measured tempo). Milan also employs the expression tafier de gala (to play in a festive, or solemn way) to desig-
nate the same as Tomas de Santa Maria's taller con vuen ayre (literally, to play in an 'airy', or gracious way), i.e. the use of a very free rhythmic declamation within a steady pulse, implying a subtle rubato.
The sheer intrinsic quality of Milan's music, the fact that it represents the most advanced aspects of the musical atmos-phere of the Spanish and Portuguese courts (El Maestro was dedicated to John III, King of Portugal, a country which the author's letter of dedication describes as la mar de la mtisica, or "the sea of music") and the highly innovative expressive features mentioned above fully justify the choice of repertory that is to be heard on the present recording. Luys de Milan's extraordinary fantasias, tientos and dances therefore become the perfect vehicle for yet another decisive step in Jordi Savall's search, over more than two decades, for a uniquely illuminating rediscovery of the magical world of early instrumental music in the Iberian peninsula
Ruy VIEIRA NERY
« Last Edit: December 20, 2019, 08:18:02 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline San Antone

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Re: Jordi Savall
« Reply #95 on: December 20, 2019, 08:21:31 AM »
Here's the booklet essay from the Milan recording, which puts some of the issues on the table quite well I think  -- I don't know how well the OCR has worked!

That excerpt seems to offer some support to Savall's decision to translate the vihuela music to a consort.  But, the business of the difficulty of reading tablature is nonsense, IMO.  A viol player, or any musician with a fundamental knowledge of the guitar or vihuela, would have no difficulty in figuring out the pitches.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Jordi Savall
« Reply #96 on: December 20, 2019, 08:49:28 AM »
One phrase that caught my attention was this, because it gives a bit more insight into what Savall's about

Quote
tientos and dances therefore become the perfect vehicle for yet another decisive step in Jordi Savall's search, over more than two decades, for a uniquely illuminating rediscovery of the magical world of early instrumental music in the Iberian peninsula

He must have a committee of tame musicologists!
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Jordi Savall
« Reply #97 on: December 28, 2019, 05:49:23 AM »
The notes from the first Sibill recording, this one




Quote
Although a thousand years have passed since the time when we find the first traces of this music, which took shape at the very beginnings of our civilisation, we must go much further back, to around the end of the sixth century before Christ, to find the first references to the Sibyls, those semi-divine beings who were able to foresee future events and who possessed prophetic powers bestowed upon them by Apollo. In Greece and the oriental countries the most famous Sibyls were the one from Marpessus or Hellespontica, who lived on Mount Ida (south-west of Troy), the Sibyl Erythraea from Ionia (Asia Minor) and especially the Sibyl Delphica (from Delphos) who ousted the former Pythia, priestess of Apollo. With the Romans the Sibyl Tiburtina was very well-known, but it was the Sibyl Cumana (from Cuma) who became the great official oracle of the patricians until the beginning of the Roman Empire. Through the centuries there remained such a profusion of sibylline prophecies that specialized priests went to Rome to study the different versions and to find, in the Temple of Jupiter on the Capitoline hill, solutions to difficult problems. All the documents were destroyed during the Capitoline fire in 83 B.C., but the Senate ensured that a new collection was established on the basis of information coming from the stylistic research undertaken in Italy, Greece and Africa. The accumulation of so many oracles compelled Augustus to make a selection by burning more than 2000 volumes and revising those which were to remain. The influence of these prophesies was still felt under the first Christian Emperors; but a catastrophe occurred in 389 A.D., when Theodosius decided to burn all the texts which would have allowed us to understand better the religion of the ancient world and its literary expression. It is to this world and in particular to the Sibyl of Cuma that Virgil refers (Bucolics IV, 4-7) when he recalls the last age of the prophesy of Cuma: "This is when the great order of the centuries begins. Already the virgin too returns, the reign of Saturn returns. Already a new generation ascends from the high heavens". It is not then very surprising that the early Christians retained the myth of the Sibyl, restoring it as an oracle for the second coming of Christ, for the last judgement and the end of the world. What is, on the other hand, extraordinary is the presence of this mythology in some countries during the middle ages and Renaissance, and especially its uninterrupted existence until the present day in the Balearic Islands and in Alghero (Sardinia).

It is to St. Augustin that we have long attributed a homily which, from the early Middle Ages, was read on Christmas Eve to convince non-Christians of the coming of the Messiah. For this purpose the testimony of different characters from the Old and New Testament, as well as from the pagan world, were used: Virgil, Nebuchadnezzar and the Sibyl Erythraea. These testimonies were all very brief, with the exception of the Sibyl's (27 hexameters), originally in Greek in the form of an acrostic on the words : JESUS CHRIST THE SON AND GOD THE SAVIOUR. It was the verses of the Judicii signum which were invoked in Greek by Constantine at the Council of Nicaea. The Latin version was the basis for the performance of the Sibyl's chant during Christmas matins (between the sixth and ninth Lessons) in France, Italy, Castile and especially in the Catalan region, at least from the tenth century. In the thirteenth century the Sibyl's Chant was also celebrated in the vernacular in France, in Provence and in the Catalan region and it is in the latter that it has lingered on until now, despite the ban imposed on it the end of the sixteenth century. It is certainly the most ancient of the Catalan dramaturgy, the first known musical version dating from the tenth century; Cordoba Cathedral, circa 960 A.D.; Ripoll; Barcelona; Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, Lectionarium; Montecassino, Lectionarium; &c. From the thirteenth century the vernacular sources are found at Montpellier (Lectionarium), the Escorial (Codex principis) and at Toledo (manuscript); in the fifteenth century at Barcelona (Cathedral), at Palma in Majorca (Convents of the Conception and of Santa Margarita) &c. It was at this time that the refrains of the Sibyl began to be sung in polyphony and the first known polyphonic versions are those of Tirana (Seville, Biblioteca Colombina), A. de Cordoba (Madrid, Palacio nacional), Anonymous (Barcelona, Orfeó català) Baptista Carceres (Gandia, Collegiata), Alonso (Gandia, Collegiata), and Anonymous (Toledo Cathedral).

Realizing today an historical version of the Sibyl's Chant supposes that we are in a dynamic perspective in time, as if we were trying to grasp its coming into being at one moment without interrupting the source of its essence and of its mystery. Our method consists of first cataloguing in chronological order all the known versions of each chant in a way that allows us to proceed without a break, for example from the first little ornamented chants of the tenth century to the more melismatic versions of the twelfth centuries, without interrupting the continuity of the chant. It was clearly necessary to determine the selection of the different versions according to the character of the text for each verse. In general, we have opted to present three Sibyls:
1. The Latin [Sibyl], from the tenth/eleventh century, with its Judicii signum, with an accompaniment on the lyre, the refrains at the unison and at the octave. A sober and profound version.

2. The version with Provençal reminiscences, from the thirteenth century, with the introduction of the 'ud for the accompaniments and the incorporation of faux Bourdons in the refrains. A version which seems perhaps to have been directly influenced by the poetic inflections of the troubadour language.

3. Finally, with the Catalan Sibyl, we come straight into the spectacle of the Mystery or paraliturgical sacred drama, a kind of autos sacramentales from the Renaissance period. In the more ornate chant of this version we have recuperated some elements which derive from popular tradition — notably in the Balearic Islands — and, proceeding in the same way as in the Latin Sibyl, we have adapted the different versions according to the character of the different strophes. On the other hand, for the refrains, we have abandoned the monodic chant since the existence of numerous sources for three and four voices shows that polyphonic practice corresponded with the discoveries of the time: the melody — which we have heard in earlier versions — appears 'harmonized' in a more or less elaborated manner according to the inspirations of the composers or the traditions of that place.

The participation of the minstrels is confirmed by different sources: they accompanied the Sibyl at the entrance or at the exit of the ceremony or they played between the different strophes. For the different instrumental sequences we have therefore used all the versions whose texts are not written in Catalan, and for this reason it is unthinkable that they should be mixed up as pieces that are sung with the Catalan text.

To decide whether to use a woman's voice or a boy's voice two historical approaches are possible. While it is true most of the time that it was a boy disguised as a woman who played the role of the Sibyl, we know that, in convents where there were sisters, it is recorded that, for the occasion of the Sibyl's Chant it was a nun who played this role.

There remains the question of the liturgical period in which the presentation of this Chant should be situated. Traditionally linked to feasts of Christmas, it was in some places, notably in Barcelona, also performed during Holy Week, particularly on the night of Good Friday.

It is through this extraordinary melody, which has remained intact in its essential elements for centuries, that we have preserved the mythology of Virgil's prophetess. A mythology full of drama with its impressive references to the last judgement and to the end of the world for the chaos of elements (celestial fire, earthquakes, lunar and solar eclipse, etc.), which leaves open the hope of a new life for the just, through the birth and death of Jesus Christ.

It is clear that the musical realization must assume all these essential elements and show the significance of their content: a mixture of prophesies, oracles and curses on one of the themes nearest to the Middle Ages — the final destiny of our life and of the world in which we live, a subject, alas! which has lost nothing of its currency, in fact quite the opposite — but which, thanks to the incantatory suggestion of these timeless melismas, puts us in a second dimension of reflection on the destiny of humanity, and this through a popular ceremony full of mystery and sensitivity which took place during the night of Christmas or of Good Friday, respectively the most magical and dramatic moments of the Christian year.

This recording would not have been possible without the work and earlier studies of Higini Anglès, Theodore Gerold, M. Sanchi Gasner, Miguel Dolç, Josep Baucels i Reig, and the assistance, in literary matters, of Josep Maria Pujol. We would like to express our gratitude here to each of them.
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