Hesperion XX,an ensanble of first class soloists
conquistador69 | 03/23/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a great recording by Hesperion XX. Jordi Savall,called for an ensanble of first class instrumentalists.Some of the most prominent scholars,perform in this recording. Lutenist,Hopkinson Smith,a graduate from Harvard, is today one of a respected lute soloist.Ton Koopman plays the harpsichord in this recording, he is today conductor of one of the foremost early music group around,the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra.He plays in this recording three solo pieces by the Spanish composer,Juan Bautista Cabanilles.Christophe Coin,plays the viola da gamba,he is also a first class cellist in field of early music performance,he has performed with groups such as the Academy of Ancient Music,under C.Hughwood,Mr.Cin displays himself in this recording,with his performance of "La Folia" a set of variations in a popular tune by Martin y Coll.Soprano Moserrat Figueras was splendid in this recording too,this was her first colaboration with Jordi Savall.My favorite track were#3"Peynandose Estaba un Olmo".The quality of the recording is great for a re-issue.The only problem was that the liner notes failed to tell about the performers."
Stunning Performances, Superb Quality
Leslie Richford | Selsingen, Lower Saxony | 06/06/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you had never before heard of the composers represented on this disc ? de Milanes, Marin, Hidalgo, Martin y Coll, Durón, Cabanilles, del Vado ? you may be excused: late 17th century Spanish composers do not feature widely in today?s concert programs! But Jordi Savall and his team (here consisting of his wife Monserrat Figueras together with Ton Koopman, Hopkinson Smith and Christophe Coin, all famous soloists in their own right) were determined to demonstrate that Spain was not the musical wilderness which it is sometimes represented as being and recorded (in September 1976, at the Protestant Church in Séon in Switzerland) this selection of excerpts from ?zarzuelas? and secular songs of the period. As Tess Knighton points out in her notes, the Spanish music of the period was heavily influenced by what was going on in the rest of Europe, especially Italy and France, but it is still possible to recognize a certain Spanish style; in this respect, she compares Spain with England.
The program, originally released on EMI as an LP, is rather brief ? a mere 47 minutes ? but this is balanced by its superb quality. The young Montserrat Figueras gives stunning performances of the vocal pieces, the purity and clarity of her voice, the delightfulness of her ornamentation and the authenticity of her diction all contributing to some fascinating listening. And all this is complemented by some glorious instrumentals, amongst which Ton Koopman?s harpsichord pieces by Cabanilles deserve special mention. This is a digitally remastered analogue recording, but the audio sound quality is better than that of many digital recordings: there is absolutely no hissing or other noise, and there is a fulness of detail here which does the engineers proud. Virgin Classics deserve much praise for this re-issue and that of other early Hespérion XX recordings.