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Splendour of Al-Andalus

4.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 19, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. 'Ah Ya Muddasin' - From The Nuba: Ram Al-Maya (Libyan Tradition)
  2. 'Ya Muslimin' - From The Nuba: Irak (Libyan Tradition)
  3. A) Insad 'God, Watch over the Singer': B) - Basît - Moaxaja 'Oh to Free Myself', - Moaxaja 'Be Merry and Take Pleasure
  4. C) Qaym Wa Nusf - Moaxaja 'I am Patient With the One I Love' - Zejel 'You Gre Before My Eyes'
  5. D) Btâyhî - Moaxaja 'On a Marvellous Night' - Zejel ' Oh Gazelle Child' - Instrumental work - Zejel ' This Love'
  6. E) Quddâm - Sugl 'They Reproached Me for My Love for You' - Moxaja 'Whilst I Concealed Love
  7. 'Jismi Fani' - From The Nuba Ram al Maya (Algerian Tradition)
  8. 'Ala Ya Mudir Al-Rah' - From The Nuba Asbasayn (Tunisian Tradition)
  9. Qaym Wa Nusf - Moaxaja 'How Sweet is the Nectar in Your Eyes' from the Nuba Isbihana
  10. Quddâm: Instrumental from the Nuba Hidyaz Oriental (Moroccan tradition)


Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 19, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: M.a. Recordings
  • ASIN: B00000G4U1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #256,911 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Scott Shuster on February 13, 2001
First I stumbled on "Mudejar" by Begona Olavide (see my review), and then on "El Sueno de El Zaqqaq" by Luis Delgado. Now I've picked up this other Delgado CD, "Calamus, The Splendor of Al Andalus" - ALL THREE of these are must-own CDs that have greatly enhanced our quality of life here in Manhattan. I did a little web searching on Delgado this morning ... and found his website,... where his other works dating back to the 70s are listed. I'll be searching for and buying them all, I assure you. This medieval Spanish/Arab music transports one to another world altogether. It's medieval, it's Spanish, and it's Arab all rolled into one -- that's what "Andalus" music is. Andalus music, while medieval in origin, is a living genre of popular music too. There's plenty of current Andalusian music out there: I stumbled on it recently in Fez (Morocco) where it manifests as a kind of popular festive music, often available only on cassette and serving mainly its local market -- places like the south side of the old city of Fez (Fes el-Bali) where the "Andalusians" live (having fled there when they were rousted out of Spain at the end of the 15th century). From Delgado, Olavide and their collaborators we are receiving beautifully produced classical 'Andalus' music straight from Spain. These are spectacular recordings on period instruments (Delgado has an enormous collection of old instruments), extremely evocative sounds that create better 'atmosphere' than any music I have ever heard. This is the best medieval music in the world, I'm convinced. These artists know that they are reaching a modern market of sensitive individuals who appreciate the best of stereophonic high fidelity and they deliver it to great effect.Read more ›
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This is the finest recording of Andalusian music of the Renaissance I've ever heard. Not only is the performance (on period and appropriate regional acoustic instruments) outstanding, but the performance was recorded at a high digital sampling rate of 96hz, yeilding almost twice the average frequency response of most DDD recordings. In other words, it's an audiophile gem as well as a musical treasure and historical excursion. As another reviewer suggested, fans of Dead Can Dance will probably love this (the source music being directly influential upon DCD's ouvre.) Appreciators of Jordi Savall and Montserrat Figueras' work with early Spanish music will also love this disc. Very strongly recommended. See also Begoña Olavide's "Saltarello" on the same label. It features as much Christian and secular music as Arabic/Moorish, but has a similar ambience and the same high-quality sound. A thousand thanks to Calamus and MA Recordings for these treasures.
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`Danzas Medievales Espanolas' and `Calamus, The Splendour of Al-Andalus' are both performed by the Eduardo Paniagua Group which, I believe, is based in Spain. Both albums were recorded at the Monasterio de la Santa Espina, Valladolid, Espana and both ensambles of musicians are lead by Eduardo Paniagua, although there is some difference in the personnel between the two albums.

Andalucia is the most southwesterly province in Spain and therefore the one under control of the Moors for the longest time. The latter of the two albums specifically offers us music of `Arab-Andalusian Music of the 12th to the 15th centuries', after which the Moors were kicked out of Spain by Isabella and Ferdinand. As I listen to this specifically Arab music, I hear virtually nothing which tells me that it is music performed in Spain. It is certainly old, but not too different from the Arab music I hear on Sunday's on my local NPR radio station. You can almost hear the influences of the Levant which are shared by both Arab and Israeli musical styles. I am constantly looking around to find the sources of all the clicks and rattles as I do my gardening with Walkman in full throat. Turns out, it is all from the rich family of Middle Eastern percussion instruments on this album. Looking at the names of the tracks, they too all seem to be in a Latinized spelling of a Middle Eastern language.

The first album of Medieval dances with largely the same instruments and a very similar ensemble sounds quite different. This music is quintessentally European Renaissance, with strong similarities to other recordings of Renaissance music by French, English, Dutch, German, and Italian influenced performers. The titles to these pieces have a much more pronouncedly Spanish look to them.
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Very well captures the mood of eras and places Spanish and Renaissance though the lyrics seem to actually be Arabic, which is appropriate. Reminds me a great deal of the brilliant Madredeus though this has a considerably more Elizabethan sound, more pastoral and less dramatic and operatic. A good number of songs here, so the CD will give you something to listen to for awhile.
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The one recording of Andalusian music I would not be without. The music, interpretation and recording are just short of sublime. It gives us just a glimpse of what musicianship in the medieval Al Andalus era would have been like.
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