viola de gamba; Monsterrat Figueras, vocals; Arianna Savall, vocals and
harps; Ferran Savall, vocals and theorbo; Pedro Estevan, percussion –
Alia Vox ASVA 9841 Multichannel SACD, 74 min. *****:
As this evocative musical program unfolds, one can’t help but be struck
by how new this music seems, and yet at the same time oddly familiar.
As violist extraordinaire Jordi Savall and company travel on their
musical odyssey, the listener is taken to exotic locations as far
reaching as Greece, Morocco, Afganistan, Israel, Spain and Bosnia.
Interspersed among the many traditional tunes are contemporary
offerings composed by members of Savall’s entourage, which includes his
wife, the extraordinary singer Monsterrat Figueras, along with his
children, Ferran and Arianna. Old friend Pedro Estevan joins the group
to provide the superb percussion heard throughout.
As Jordi Savall states in the supplied booklet, the album’s concept was
one of forming an “intercultural dialogue” whose purpose was to build
bridges between various musical cultures, performers and their
audiences, and between ancient and modern music. The program shifts
gears musically quite frequently – at one moment, you’re hearing
musical sounds that might have been played in a Babylonian garden, then
later, hearing Arianna Savall singing one of her own compositions that
doesn’t sound all that dissimilar from something by Kate Bush!
Regardless of what it is you’re hearing, one thing remains constant –
the incredibly realistic sound pouring forth from this disc. It’s not
possible to tell from the supplied literature whether the disc is pure
DSD, but it sure sounds like it! Musically and sonically, this
recording is a tour de force, and a model of what hi-res surround sound
should offer. Not to be missed – very highly recommended.
— Tom Gibbs