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Isabel I, Reina de Castilla Import

4.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, December 14, 2004
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Product Details

  • Performer: Hesperion XXI, Daniele Carnovich, Canciero de Montecassino Anonymous, El Cancionero de Colombina Anonymous, Johannes Cornago, et al.
  • Audio CD (December 14, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: ALIA VOX
  • ASIN: B0006SSNO6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #144,117 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
Following in the footsteps of his release devoted to Emperor Charles V, Jordi Savall and his ensemble once again envisage the life of one of Spain's most important monarchs, here Isabella of Castile (1451-1504), through a hypothetical 'illustration in sound' of the major events of her life. Connoisseurs will undoubtedly be familiar with a number of these pieces, many from previous Savall recordings (Palacio, Encina, Colombina discs). Alongside the Spanish works (villancicos, romances, sacred music), the programme also includes examples of Turkish and Sephardic music. The CD is exquisitely packaged and includes a 95 page booklet in 6 languages, complete with full song texts and numerous illustrations (facsimile reproductions, etc).

As on many other recordings by this ensemble, it is clear that historical accuracy is secondary to an overall aesthetic result, and it is not difficult to understand why Savall's approach has ruffled many musicologists. For example, whereas most of the works on this recording were almost certainly performed by a small group of musicians, perhaps most often "a cappella" (unaccompanied voices), Savall reimagines them here with the accompaniment of a colourful array of instruments - Renaissance viols, alta band (shawm, cornett, sackbuts), oud, psaltery, bells and arabic percussion. In addition, several tracks have 'composed' introductions (tracks 1, 4, 10, 13) or even added parts (track 6), and others are anachronistically renamed simply for the purpose of Savall's 'programme' (e.g. the cancion 'In exitu Israel de Egipto' appears here as 'Toccata' [track 3], a term which doesn't appear before 1536 and which is predominantly associated with keyboard works).
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By Weesel on November 20, 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Interesting mix of styles at work here. Paseabase El Rey Moro is particularly pleasing. Montserrat lends true feeling to this piece as she sings the part of the Moorish king. Her recitation of the old man's 'Dutch uncling' is unexpected and equally passionate. All this is punctuated by a musical style that never loses its Moorish influence but changes, oh so subtly, into a more 'European' mode. In direct contrast, Begona's performance of Canció en ritmo Quddan de la Nuba Gribt: Al Hussein de Marruecos is equally compelling. The voices are married perfectly to the styles of the music. In short, if you like Iberian music of this period (circa 1492), get the album. You will not be disappointed.
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
Most people living westwards from Europe across that massive Atlantic pond know Queen Isabella as the patron of Christopher Columbus who, from the European view, "discovered" the American continent. But many of the vast populations that already inhabited that land saw and continue to see Isabella's most famous protégé as an invader and a brutal conqueror. That now famous (or infamous) western year, 1492, also saw the expulsion of Spain's Jewish population and the final defeat of Granada over the Moors. Isabella played a central role in all three events. Allied with her also famous husband Ferdinand, this royal duo oversaw one of the most influential and controversial reigns in Spanish history. These years also produced incredible music and the Spanish record label Alia Vox has marked this era with the third volume of its "Musicas Reales" series. Similar to the previous installments, "Carlos V" and "Alfons V," this one follows the life, rule and significant historical events of a single monarch. Each song represents an event in the life of Isabella from her birth in 1451 through the tumultuous year of 1492 to her death in 1504. The experience transcends music and introduces a historical dimension. Of course, as with other Alia Vox collections, the musical quality never veers from stupendous.

Those looking for historical accuracy may find more than some liberties taken throughout, as many of the arrangements and tempos do seem enhanced for modern audiences. Nonetheless, no one can doubt the incredible power of the albums's first track "Exultet Cealum Laudibus" that begins with an enticing but almost hesitant bell ring. Soon after, the piece explodes into a Cathedral of sound that surrounds the brain in a cloud of ecstatic harmony.
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