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AliaVox SACD 9843

Don Quixote de la Mancha
Romances y Musicas

Montserrat Figueras
Arianna Savall
La Capella Reial de Catalunya
Hesperion XXI/Jordi Savall
AliaVox AVSA9843 2SACDs 152m DDD
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For the past few years, AliaVox has regaled us with some magnificent albums, all painstakingly researched, excitingly performed and lavishly presented, but this latest release is certainly the most amazing project to date. This imaginative enterprise has been two years in the making and it and it is only fitting that its release has been timed for this year, the 400th anniversary of Cervantes' masterpiece.

Apart from Savall's immaculate music making, he also brings to light a remarkable revelation in that many of the phrases uttered by selected characters in 'Don Quixote' are not original creations, but were borrowed from popular songs heard in the author's times. After an arduous labour of love Savall succeeded in tracing the original pieces alluded to in the novel, and by including extracts from Cervantes' text read by a Spanish actor to alternate with the songs, he has created a unique musical experience which takes the listener back to the Spain of 1605.

The album also includes a number of instrumental period pieces and concludes with a work worthy of the Don's destiny; 'Pie Jesu Domine' from Morales' Requiem. The presentation, in the form of a hardback book with a matte laminate finish is a 272-page, sumptuous document of exquisite beauty, with a seven-language text brimming with precious information on the research process and the music itself. Sound quality is absolutely astounding. In all honesty, I cannot recommend this set too strongly; a riveting release overflowing with visual and aural riches.

Copyright © 2006, Gerald Fenech