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CD Review

Ninna Nanna

Lullabies and Berceuses (1450-2002)

  • Anon Portugal: Jose' embala o menino
  • Anon England: My little secret darling
  • Anon Greece: Berceuse
  • Anon Sefardi: Berceuse Ladino
  • Anon Berbere: Berceuse Amazigh
  • William Byrd: Lullaby
  • Tarquinio Merula: Canzonetta spirituale sopra la nanna
  • Anon Alicante: Mareta no'un faces plorar c. 1700
  • Johann Friedrich Reichardt: Dors mon enfant
  • Modest Mussorgsky: La Chambre des enfants (Avec le poupeé)
  • Anon Israel: Berceuse hébraïque
  • Arvo Pärt: Lullaby
  • Max Reger: Wiegenlied
  • Manuel de Falla: Nana
  • Darius Milhaud: Berceuse hébraïque
  • Arvo Pärt: Berceuse Estonienne
  • Anon Catalogue: Cano de Bressol
Montserrat Figueras
Hesperion XXI/Jordi Savall
AliaVox AV9826
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This is another stunning project from the laudable AliaVox label, a true treasure trove of motherly love throughout the centuries. Montserrat Figueras shows her versatility and panache by singing each and every piece with amazing dexterity and with the beautiful sound that has graced so many AliaVox discs.

However, this collection is not the sole prerogative of Figueras as the participants are wide and varied in number. The distinguished Paul Badura Skoda in the sole Milhaud item whilst the versatile Arianna Savall also contributes to many pieces with her equally exquisite voice and enchanting harp playing especially in the beautiful opening sequence from Portugal, a haunting reverie that takes one back into the foggy mists of time.

If pressed to select my favourite items from such a plentiful list of gems, I would opt for the sensuous evocation and mystery of the anonymous Greek and Sephardic lullabies, both are works of intimate harmony that seem to convey that unknown message of pain. The CD also traverses almost 600 years of music culminating with works by Part, Reger and De Falla with a wonderful piece by Byrd also making an appearance. Musically speaking, the interpretations are utterly charming and each and every musician plays as inspired, this is almost a labour of love for all.

The extensive booklet includes a host of informative notes, intriguing session photographs and the full texts and translations. I am always quite warm to any new AliaVox project because of their professional and attractive presentation, apart from the singular music making but this time I cannot but be overtly enthusiastic about such a marvellous project that deserves an unqualified recommendation.

Copyright © 2003, Gerald Fenech