Capella de Ministrers / Carles Magraner

Ramon Llull: L'últim pelegrinatge

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The name of the Catalonian writer Ramon Llull (say YOO-ee, and you'll be reasonably close, but in the English notes here the name is questionably anglicized to Lully) has been known mostly to students of medieval literature, but in the 2010s, his remarkable life has been the subject of several well-researched and accessible recordings. One is by Jordi Savall and his Capella Reial de Catalunya and Hespérion XXI groups. The present box, by the similarly massed talents of the Capella de Ministrers and the Musica Reservata Barcelona under Carles Magraner, was originally issued as three separate CDs; the box set, giving an overview of Llull's remarkable career, is worth the investment. Llull was not a composer, but he was a poet, philosopher, friar, and perhaps most importantly, a world traveler who ventured as far east as Armenia. His writings offer vast insight into the relationship between Muslims and Christians in medieval Spain. Magraner and Savall, both viol players, take essentially similar approaches, combining settings of Llull's writings with music he might have encountered on the road. It's a close call between Savall's release and the present box. Savall's presentation is a bit smoother, both musically and in its gorgeous hardback booklet (if that's the right word for something so massive), and Savall's flair for the dramatic has rarely been more in evidence. But Magraner's set, with three discs, is a bit more detailed and gives you more places to get a toehold in appreciating Llull's accomplishment. Ultimately a strong case can be made for listening to both sets, but whatever you do, listen to one or the other.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 03:50
2 03:17
3 02:44
4 04:16
5 08:27
6 03:11
7 08:28
8 02:51
9 02:54
10 03:43
11 03:39
12 07:28
13 07:02
14 02:21
15 02:15

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 03:39
2 05:27
3 05:40
4 03:59
5 07:48
6 01:56
7 05:07
8 07:18
9 04:30
10 04:28
11 03:03
12 03:35
13 03:30
14 04:11

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 06:15
2 03:08
3 07:21
4 03:36
5 03:04
6 06:08
7 05:18
8 05:25
9 03:47
10 05:10
11 03:46
12 01:44
13 04:05
14 02:18
15 02:07
16 03:59
17 02:40
18 05:17
blue highlight denotes track pick