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V1 Iberian Garden
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Musiques juives, chrétiennes et musulmanes du moyen-âge espagnol / Ensemble Altramar
Thanks to recordings like this--and to accomplished performers with a commitment to exploring uncommon musical territory--we can discover endless worlds of fascinating music. This program features "Jewish, Christian, and Muslim music in medieval Spain." In the 12th and 13th centuries Spain was a vital center for arts, learning, and religion--many different religious faiths and cultures interacted there. This recording and its follow-up volume give us a small but tantalizing taste of a part of that rich and fruitful period. --David Vernier
Top Customer Reviews
Authenticity is the key: these are accomplished scholars as well as musicians, piecing together what surely are fragments of foreign manuscript notations, and creating authentic instruments. As another reviewer mentioned, the vocal stylings, particularly in the Jewish and Arab pieces, are not operatic, but rather, flat and nasal (but always, always, complex and utterly fluid).
I also appreciated the scholarly liner notes, which did much to heighten my fierce curiousity and desire to learn. I've spent much time comparing the Arabic, Jewish, and Latin to the English translations, and studying (to the best of my limited knowledge) the Jewish and Arabic transliterations.
I've read extensively on Jewish-Muslim-Christian relations, particularly during this time period: rarely does one find such an extraordinary aural portrait of an age.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Authenticity is the key: these are accomplished scholars as well as musicians, piecing together fragments of foreign manuscript codices with the appropriate modern Moroccan prototypes, and creating period instruments. As another reviewer mentioned, most of the vocal stylings, particularly in the Jewish and Arab pieces, are not operatic, but rather, flat and nasal (but complex and fluid), and thus believable. The Christian interpretations are more 'classical', and utterly exquisite. Pronounciation in each represented language (Hebrew, Arabic, Latin, Gallo-Portuguese, Spanish) is comprehensible and historically accurate.
I also appreciated the scholarly liner notes, which broadened my understanding of the music. I've spent much time comparing the Arabic, Jewish, and Latin to the English translations and transliterations.
This period of Jewish/Muslim/Christian relations was perhaps one of the most fruitful eras in history, and one of rare co-operation. Scientific, religious, philosophical and cultural achievements reached an all to brief apex of harmony. Rarely does one find such an extraordinary portrait of a Golden Age as represented here in the blend of musical styles.
This collection of musical pieces of the late medieval era (11th-13th century) brings its listeners back to this time. Performed by Altramar, the pieces are presented in Latin, Spanish, Arabic, and Hebrew language and with instruments common to that period of history and the region. The composers take pointers from long held
I don't know if I will ever find another collection/series that captures the spirit of Iberia so vividly and represents the musical presentation and genres of these long dead peoples as accurately as this one. My only problem with this album is that that I felt that there weren't enough Arabic or Islamic pieces, which I hope and am confident that the second part of the Iberian Garden collection will make up for and the muwashshah piece in this volume by the Muslim composer Ibn Zuhr is phenomenal. However, the pieces in this first volume are rather universal, more or less, in their lyrical content that generally a member of any of the three Abrahamic faiths, or perhaps even none of them, that inhabited the Iberian Peninsula when these pieces were first composed would find peace of mind and spirit listening to them. The themes of the songs range from adoration of general Iberian life to liturgical religious hymns.
Again, even if you don't find too much in one or two tracks on this collection, any appreciator of classical folk music and medieval culture, particularly that of Spain's, this collection is a must have.