Pneuma's Aire de Al-Andalus is a sprawling collection of pieces played on traditional Arabic instruments that purports to constitute a cross-section of Arabo-Andalusian music. It appears collected from a wide variety of recordings made under the direction of Pneuma label head, musicologist and original instrument flutist Eduardo Paniagua; some of the recordings are recycled from a 1994 M.A. Recordings release entitled Medieval Spanish Dances (still in print) and others stem from previously released sources, as well. Aire de Al-Andalus features Paniagua performing, in most cases, in collaboration with other flute players from Algeria, Syria, Morocco, and Spain; other flute-like instruments include the nay, fhal, and kaval. Said drawn from the repertoire of Moorish Andalusia, the material includes a few of the Cantigas de Santa Maria, but the rest of it is an odd mixture of a lot of other things, including Arabic pieces from the nineteenth century, improvisations, and the like. Although nicely printed, this disc was clearly designed for economy's sake, coming with a densely worded six-page booklet that is rich in illustrations, but scant on information or even some idea of the thrust of this collection. While it is pleasant to listen to and all of the music is expertly played, about midway through the disc listeners may find themselves hopelessly lost. One cannot determine how the music identified as Andalusian is different from music that is Arabic; it all sounds of a piece, despite the diversity of recorded sources and works included. If one is inclined toward Persian classical music in a general sense, Pneuma's Aire de Al-Andalus will certainly not offend, but to those who need some additional background on this music to understand its meaning and context, it will not enlighten, either.
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AllMusic Review by Uncle Dave Lewis
Aliento de las flores (Breath of flowers), for traditional ensemble (Taqsim Maluf de Constantina - Argelia)
Brisa embalsamada (Perfumed breeze), for traditional ensemble (Taqsim Maluf de Constantina - Argelia)