Jordi Savall

Music for the Spanish Kings

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AllMusic Review by

Like the Renaissance itself, Music for the Spanish Kings begins with a strutting fanfare and ends with a melancholic sigh. Attaining his usual high standards, Jordi Savall has fashioned a poignant and varied musical portrait of the century encompassing the reigns of three Spanish kings: Alphonso I (1442-58), Ferdinand I (1458-94), and Charles V (1516-56). Montserrat Figueras' rich mezzo-soprano voice carries over half the pieces on the first disc. Her stunning vibrato imparts a troupadour's sadness to the cancions. Her impeccable rhythms carry dance tunes like "Cingari siamo venit's giocare." As in his many previous CDs, Savall displays unflagging taste in both his composer selections--he elicits the best from over a dozen obscure composers--and in his arrangements. He orchestrates Adrain Willaert's "Vecchie letrose" with snappy percussion, brisk flute, guitar, and Figueras' vivacious voice. It is so infectious it seems to end prematurely, leaving the listener craving more. Some of Antonio de Cabezón's pieces for the viol undulate seductively like those of Sainte Colombe, who composed more than a century later. I wish the CD producers had provided text for the songs, or even instrument listings. But the collection thrives well without them.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 01:09
2 03:30
3 03:09
4 03:48
5 02:08
6 01:57
7 02:53
8 04:59
9 02:01
10 01:35
11 03:25
Work(s)
12 02:38
13 04:22
14 02:44
15 02:34
16 02:30
17 03:21
18 02:06
19 02:06
blue highlight denotes track pick