The Voice of Emotion II = Montserrat Figueras, soprano/ Hesperion XX-XXI/ Jordi Savall – AliaVox SACD+2 DVDs

by | Jul 16, 2014 | CD+DVD

The Voice of Emotion II = Montserrat Figueras, soprano/ Hesperion XX-XXI/ Jordi Savall – AliaVox multichannel SACD + DVD (2 discs) AVDVD9904, 72:00 (SACD), 55:00 (DVDs 1 & 2) [Distr. by Harmonia mundi] ****:

It’s been three years since the wonderful Montserrat Figueras left this earth, leaving us deprived of one of the most affective and sensitive voices heard. Not everyone, it must be admitted, actually liked her voice—and it is different. Breathy, a little raspy (at least when she wanted it to be), and certainly not powerful in the sense we usually think of sopranos as being powerful. But as one of the foremost early music and folk music proponents in the world she hardly had her equal. A co-partner with husband Jordi Savall, their exploration of the various world idioms in a sympathetic and non-belittling manner enlightened many music lovers who would otherwise never had ventured into such cautious and unexplored territory. If the old cliché about music being able to bring the world together was ever true, Figueras sought to prove the point. It is a worthwhile and remarkable legacy that remains, fortunately, for all of us to enjoy.

There’s nothing new here for those who follow the extensive and sometimes mind-boggling AliaVox catalog, the ideas of which started with her collaboration with Savall in 1966. And somehow we missed volume 1, released in 2012. Evidently no one could rest content with only one tribute, so here is another, only this time it comes with two DVDs on her life and work, which are extremely worthwhile and quite generous in that each offers three different language settings. This music is terrific, and makes for a good introduction to her art, especially for those who don’t know her or are wondering what the fuss is all about. A lot, believe me. As usual the SACD sonics are outstanding, and this is an excellent tribute by any standard.


José embala o menino (Portugese)
Senhora del mundo
Alma buscarte has en mi
Melodie sefarade – Lamentation en hebreu
La mare de Déu
Bovicelli: Ancor che col partire
Caccini, G: Dalla porta d’oriente
Carceres: Soleta so jo aci
Marín: Ojos pues me desdenais
Merula: Su la cetra amorosa, aria di ciaccona
Monteverdi: Lettera amorosa
Morata: Aquí me declaró su pensamiento
Reger: Berceuse: Maria sitzt am Rosenhag
Sor: Lagrime mie d’affanno

—Steven Ritter

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