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Estampies & Danses Royales [Import]

Jordi Savall Audio CD

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Product Details


1. Le Manuscrit du Roi: Dance no 1
2. Le Manuscrit du Roi: Estampie royal no 1
3. Calenda maya - Raimbaut de Vaqeiras
4. Le Manuscrit du Roi: Estampie royal no 2
5. Le Manuscrit du Roi: Estampie royal no 3
6. Non posc sofrir qu'a la dolor - Giraut de Bornelh
7. Le Manuscrit du Roi: Estampie royal no 4
8. Le Manuscrit du Roi: Estampie royal no 5
9. No m'agrad iverns ni pascors - Raimbaut de Vaqeiras
10. Le Manuscrit du Roi: Dance no 2
11. Le Manuscrit du Roi: Estampie royal no 6
12. Le Manuscrit du Roi: Estampie royal no 7
13. Pax in nomine Domini - Marcabru
14. Le Manuscrit du Roi: Estampie royal no 8
15. Le Manuscrit du Roi: Dansse real

Product Description

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Passion, Grace and Beauty March 19 2014
By torotar - Published on Amazon.com
Where to begin? This is a beautiful and soulful recording by Mr. Savall and company. I want to address the music and its performance in context of the previous review by Maddy Evil. What ME sees as the "one major problem with this CD" is, I believe, its strength and delight. ME decries the authenticity of the ensemble instrumentation while, in effect, implying that Mr. Savall has made claims to authenticity that I do not read in the liner notes. Throughout, Mr. Savall states that his main interest is to "create" and although I would acknowledge that his statement of "historically creative performance" is somewhat ambiguous, he has in fact parenthesized that remark which is often done to signal unusual usage of a word, term or phrase so as to not give it literal meaning. Moreover, Mr. Savall states in the liner notes, "to rediscover the creative role of the minstrels, whose task it is not merely to interpret, but also to create.

ME tells us with certitude that these are solo vielle pieces, not originally intended to be played by an ensemble. ME then goes on to reference Christiane Schima (Die Estampie) who is not without detractors (e.g. Rosenfeld) and never once mentions the included liner notes by David Fallows, a respected musicologist in his own right. It indeed is very possible that ME and academician Schima (et al) are correct in their hypothesis but the bottom line is that, in the field of early music studies, there is NO absolute unanimous consensus on any aspect of these and many other early pieces of music. But what matter this? Mr. Savall has told us that he has no interest here in "archaeology" but rather is interested in the dynamic of creation using the framework of these 'dances.'

Music is not a static or dead thing. It is constantly striving to find new ways of expressing itself. If it is only to be played as an artifact, then Bach should NEVER be played on a piano (and certainly never in the style of that heretic Glenn Gould) nor should ANY Baroque music EVER be played by a full symphony orchestra or on ANY Boehm system flute or clarinet.

Me seems to think that Mr. Savall has intentionally deceived us but I think that what most annoys ME is that this music is played and recorded in this way at all. If you like the work of ensembles such as Dufay Collective, Alla Francesca, Ensemble Unicorn, Carles Magraner and Capella de Ministrers, Arte Factum... then you will love and be enchanted by these powerful and lovely performances. I end with this quote by Henri Agnel, "I know from experience that the spirit of the music is much more important than the specific instrument - which is exactly what it says it is: an instrument."
6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solo fiddle music rearranged for exotic ensemble July 3 2010
By Maddy Evil - Published on Amazon.com
This recording presents the complete instrumental music (estampies and dances) from the 'Manuscrit du Roi' (Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, f.fr.844, completed c.1300), together with instrumental realisations of 3 chansons, in typically Savallian performances that exploit a sizeable ensemble of various instruments and combinations (comprising various recorders and pipes, shawms, bagpipes, lute, vielle, dulcimer and percussion). Apart from a slightly dry acoustic, Savall enthusiasts can be assured that their expectations will be fulfilled.

However, there is one major problem with this CD.

Apparently, "our choice of instrumentation, character, tempo, ornamentation and improvisation was based on a study of the principal historical sources dating from the time of the manuscript" (booklet notes, p.22). Strange, then, that the resultant performances are entirely at odds with the findings of specialist musicologists (such as Christiane Schima and Kees Vellekoop) who have demonstrated convincingly that the estampie is named almost exclusively in connection with the solo vielle (fiddle) in French, Flemish and Italian sources until the middle of the 14th century. Bizarrely enough, a few of these sources are even cited by Savall, although not one of them actually mentions an ensemble (all of them name a solo fiddle - see below*): such sources include the important theoretical treatise 'De Musica' (c.1300) by Johannes de Grocheio, who links the "difficultas" of the estampie to "bonus artifex in viella". The fact that the shoulder playing position for the vielle was becoming the norm by this time is yet another problem (Savall plays between the knees, i.e. in viol position). Sources place the estampie primarily into an intimate, aristocratic milieu, and in none of these literary sources is the estampie described as a dance - a separation mirrored, in fact, by the 'Manuscrit du Roi' itself (since the designated "danses" in this source are more limited than their estampie counterparts, despite apparent similarities, and they rarely depart from the first mode). Fundamentally, the assumption that this is dance music highlights the main problem: namely, the idea that all those beautiful iconographical sources showing various dancing ensembles must surely be relevant. Unfortunately, so it would seem, they are not.

Perhaps you are thinking: "Who cares...? Who really wants to hear a recital of these dances on one solo fiddle...?" If so, perhaps you should ponder whether it is actually medieval music, rather than just a modern reinvention, that interests you. I am certainly of the opinion that fussy, glitzy orchestrations (often including a separate "ouvert"/ "clos" ensemble) add nothing to these pieces, and whatever else can be said, you'll be very hard-pressed to find any evidence justifying such exotic, fantastical interpretations.

* The one or two sources which might seem to support the assumption that an ensemble performance was feasible are either allegorical or unreliable, e.g. the 11 verse-long list of instruments in Machaut's 'Remède de Fortune' [before 1342], which, in any case, Machaut even introduces with the revealing qualification that "...certeinnement, il me semble qu'onques mais tele melodie ne fu veüe ne oïe..."

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