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Ninna Nanna, ca. 1500-2002 (Lullabies) Import

4.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, February 11, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description


This is a formidable collection of lullabies, spanning 500 years, 18 of them (from almost as many countries) in Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Catalan, English, and more, each one lovely, each one in its own idiom. Some are anonymous; others are by composers as different as Byrd, Mussorgsky, Milhaud, and Arvo Pärt. The disc shouldn't be listened to in one setting--no matter how interesting they are, they're still lullabies and can mellow the listener into torpor--but in three-or-so chunks, the contents are fascinating. Figueras can make her sound move from folk to classical, from a mother who is passionate about her child's safety to one who merely wants to entertain into slumber. The anonymous Greek lullaby (track 3) contains the oddest little vocal quirk--a whipping up of the tone at the close of some phrases--which only an artist like Figueras could pull off. And Savall and soloists accompany on various instruments--flute, harp, viols, etc.--with pianist Paul Badura-Skoda playing on three of the lullabies. The CD is a wonderful tour of the world through the centuries with only one subject in mind: sleep. And sleep is something, after all, that takes up a third of our lives. This CD keeps getting sweeter the more you listen. Recommended. --Robert Levine

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Anon. (Purtugal): Cancao de embalar: Jose embala o menino
  2. Anon. (England): Lullaby: My little sweet darling
  3. Anon. (Greece): Berceuse: Dors mon bebe
  4. Anon. (Sefarade): Berceuse Ladino: Nani, nani
  5. Anon. Berbere: Berceuse Amazigh
  6. William Byrd: Lullaby: Come, pretty babe
  7. Tarquino Merula: Canzonetta spirituale sopra la nanna: Hor ch'e tempo di dormire
  8. Anon. (Alicante): Mareta, mareta no'm faces plorar
  9. Johann Friedrich Reichardt (1752-1814): Chanson d'une maleureuse mere: Dorsmon enfant
  10. Modest Mussorgsky: La Chambre des enfants (1870): Avec la poupee
  11. Anon (Israel): Berceuse hebraique: Noumi, noumi yaldati
  12. Arvo Part: Berceuse de Noel (2002)
  13. Max Reger (1873-1916): Maria Wiegenlied: Maria sitzt am Rosenhag
  14. Manual de Falla (1876-1946): Nana: Duermete, nino, duerme. Canciones populares (1914)
  15. Darius Milhaud: Berceuse hebraique: Dors, dors (1925)
  16. Federico Garcia Lorca: Nana de Sevilla: Este galapaguito (1930)
  17. Arvo Part: Berceuse Estonienne: Kuus, kuus kallike (2002)
  18. Anon. Catalogne: Cancao de Bressol: La mare d e Deu

Product Details

  • Performer: Arianna Savall, Jordi Savall, Hesperion XXI
  • Composer: William Byrd, Arvo Pärt, Darius Milhaud, Manuel de Falla, Paul Badura-Skoda, et al.
  • Audio CD (February 11, 2003)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Alia Vox Spain
  • ASIN: B000071XAC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #174,292 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Figueras offers the listener a triumphant collection of evocative songs. Let's dispense with a possible concern. This CD is sub-titled "Lullabies". Anyone going to sleep listening to Figueras should see either a hearing or a brain specialist. While they may pacify children, adult listeners will be exhilarated by the sweeping range of her voice and exquisite presentation. Figueras' expressive style simply transcends descriptive praise. From soaring appeals to the heavens to quiet, soothing reassurances, she demonstrates the magnitude of her evocative skills. One can sense constrained passion in each song as she moves from one culture to another through the collection. That one of the pieces was commissioned for this collection is further proof of the extent she provides the listener - she's not confined to neither time nor place.
What is most clearly manifest in this musical anthology is Figueras' professionalism and her Catalan background. Unlike the operatic divas who have deigned to release popular renditions, she demonstrates how someone who truly understands the music of mountain villages or plains communities in any nation can elevate even the most "common" music. The selections range over five centuries or more, reinforcing the impression that nothing exceeds the capacity of her elegant voice to convey feeling to the enraptured listener. Each of us will likely settle on a favourite selection. Predictably, my own is a Catalan piece of an anonymous composer. Perhaps because the lullaby is in her native tongue, the richness of Figueras' rendition evokes intense emotional response. Would that i'd been born a Catalan!
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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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Format: Audio CD
I bought this as a gift for our daughter, and it works great; but I also can't stop listening to it myself day and night, having nothing to do with her bedtime and nap times. If one wants to go to sleep, it works beautifully for that; or if one wants to stay up and pay attention to every wonderful nuance, it also works for that. Or if it's just on as background music, it changes any room to a place of comfort and home. Montserrat Figueras here sings in at least twelve different languages, in music spanning 500 years, and puts it all across with heartfelt directness. What more difficult musical task could there be than all the above, together? But she does it.
This disc is really a family affair: Figueras and Savall, plus their daughter who also sings and plays, and their son who took the photos; plus their friends and colleagues, among the most imaginative and soulful players alive. Extraordinary. And the new music composed by Arvo Part for this album: it's proof that music can objectively make a person weep.
And the booklet: a gorgeous presentation with full background information, photos of the sessions, and each song is given in translation to eight or nine languages! (The original, plus eight more translations if different.)
The only thing you can't do is play this in the car, while driving around to lull the child with the motion. Oh, that works great for the child, but it's the driver's concentration we should be worried about. There is no way to keep one's mind safely on the road while this CD is on.
I rarely give a "five star" rating to anything, but this is one of those times.
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Ninna Nanna, ca. 1500-2002 (Lullabies)
This item: Ninna Nanna, ca. 1500-2002 (Lullabies)
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