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V1 Iberian Garden

Altramar Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 37.19
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1. R'shut: Lababi ya ireni kaso el lasaharah
2. Cantio: Dum pater familias
3. Muwashshah: Rase 'am 'et bitassef
4. Cantiga #10: Rosa das Rosas
5. Muwashshah: Ma li-l-muwallah
6. Canso: Dona si totz temps vivia
7. Cantiga de amigo: Eno sagrado en Vigo

Product Description

Amazon.ca

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

Product Description

Musiques juives, chrétiennes et musulmanes du moyen-âge espagnol / Ensemble Altramar

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant glimpse into a lost world June 5 2004
I absolutely adore this set and frequently listen to both, often loud; at first the Arab muwashshah and the one Jewish piyyut were so foreign, I did not know what to make of them. But every time I listened, it was like peeling an onion: layer upon layer of sound subtlties. Some of the works are dignified and haunting (the Christian Cantar, Cantio, etc.), some belong to a lost secular tradition (the recited 'Poema de Mio Cid'), some frankly sensual and rich ('Ma li-l-muwallah' of Ibn Zuhr).
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars you never want it to stop... April 4 2002
Altramar's "Iberian Garden, volume I" has two things in common with Miles Davis' "The Birth of the Cool": first--the music is so great, so uniquely wonderful, that you never want it to stop; second--the music does stop...and fast. This disc is too short. Not so incredibly short as to get a star knocked off, but short. Either way, get this disc. It is a truly fine recording.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Transporting Sept. 23 2000
Wow. This recording (and its excellent volume 2) truly shows you the colors of the medieval Iberian world: spiritual, sometimes joyous, full of depth and dark emotions. To commend these performers farther, their recordings of the muwashshahat and a zajal are more convincing as medieval Andalusian music than even the modern Andalusian ensembles in Morocco. Unfortunately, those ensembles (more often than not) use the instrumental combinations which became popular and wide-spread in the 19th c. Altramar uses documentably medieval Arab instrumentation, and an amazing vocal style and clarity of Arabic pronunciation that perfectly frames and complements this repertoire.
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5.0 out of 5 stars There are gems in this recording June 14 1999
By A Customer
There is a lot to commend about this CD, but the one thing that really stands out in my mind is the quality of the vocals. For as beautiful as these trained voices are, the singers do not make the mistake of overwhelming the "feel" of the music by treating it as an operatic exercise. This is a very interesting CD and, for this listener, there are a few songs here which, alone, justify its purchase.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Transporting Sept. 23 2000
By "gaios33" - Published on Amazon.com
Wow. This recording (and its excellent volume 2) truly shows you the colors of the medieval Iberian world: spiritual, sometimes joyous, full of depth and dark emotions. To commend these performers farther, their recordings of the muwashshahat and a zajal are more convincing as medieval Andalusian music than even the modern Andalusian ensembles in Morocco. Unfortunately, those ensembles (more often than not) use the instrumental combinations which became popular and wide-spread in the 19th c. Altramar uses documentably medieval Arab instrumentation, and an amazing vocal style and clarity of Arabic pronunciation that perfectly frames and complements this repertoire.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There are gems in this recording June 14 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
There is a lot to commend about this CD, but the one thing that really stands out in my mind is the quality of the vocals. For as beautiful as these trained voices are, the singers do not make the mistake of overwhelming the "feel" of the music by treating it as an operatic exercise. This is a very interesting CD and, for this listener, there are a few songs here which, alone, justify its purchase.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant glimpse into a lost world June 5 2004
By Irene Rheinwald - Published on Amazon.com
I absolutely adore this set and frequently listen to both, often loud; at first the Arab muwashshah and the one Jewish piyyut were so foreign, I did not know what to make of them. But every time I listened, it was like peeling an onion: layer upon layer of subtle sounds and poetry. Some of the works are dignified and haunting (the Christian Cantar, Cantio, etc.), some belong to a lost secular tradition (the recited 'Poema de Mio Cid'), some frankly sensual and rich ('Ma li-l-muwallah' of Ibn Zuhr). And I was pleasantly surprised to see the great poet Yehuda ha-Levi's work set to music.

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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Pieces That Take You Back in Time Feb. 22 2012
By Erik - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
The Iberian Peninsula was a cultural hub of the world where Islamic, Christian, and Jewish scholars and artists of various ethnic origin converged and brought about a relatively peaceful time and place of coexistence and cultural development, over the course of a number of different ruling medieval dynasties, that paved the way for the Renaissance era in Europe.

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.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars you never want it to stop... April 4 2002
By Cry the Name - Published on Amazon.com
Altramar's "Iberian Garden, volume I" has two things in common with Miles Davis' "The Birth of the Cool": first--the music is so great, so uniquely wonderful, that you never want it to stop; second--the music does stop...and fast. This disc is too short. Not so incredibly short as to get a star knocked off, but short. Either way, get this disc. It is a truly fine recording.
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