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  Alia Vox -
  Istanbul - Savall
  Dimitrie Cantemir: The Book of Science of Music

Hesperion XXI
Jordi Savall
Track listing:
  1. Taksim (Kanun, Vièle, Oud, Kemence et Tanbur) Improvisation   2. Der makam-1 ‘Uzzâl usules Devr-i kebir - Mss. Dimitri Cantemir (118) Anonym (ancien)   3. Los Paxaricos (Isaac Levy I.59) – Maciço de Rosas (I.Levy III.41) Sépharade (Turquie)   4. Taksim (Kanun) Improvisation   5. Der makam-1 Muhayyer usules Muhammes (Mss. D.Cantemir 285) Kantemiroglu   6. Chant et Danse (2 Duduk et percussion) Tradition Arménienne   7. Taksim (Oud) Improvisation   8. Der makam-1 Hüseyni Semâ’î (Mss. D.Cantemir 268) Baba Mest    9. El amor yo no savia (I.Levy II.80) Sépharade (Esmirna) 10. Taksim (Lira) Improvisation 11. Der makam-1 suri Semâ’î (Mss. D.Cantemir 256) Anonyme (ancien) 12. Lamento: Ene Sarére (2 Duduk) Barde Ashot (Arménien) 13. Madre de la gracia (I. Levy III.29) Sépharade (Turquie) 14. Taksim (Kanun, Tanbur, Santur et Oud)  Improvisation 15. Der makam-1 [Hüseyni] usules Çenber (Mss. D.Cantemir 96) Edirne’li Ahmed  16. Taksim & Makam «Esmkhetiet-Yis kou ghimeten-Tchim guichi» Barde Sayat Nova (Arménien) 17. Taksim (Kanun, Tanbur et Oud) Improvisation 18. Der makam-1 ‘Uzzâl usules Berevsan (Mss. D.Cantemir 148) ‘Alí H^äce (Ali Hoca) 19. Venturoso Mançevo (I. Levy II.58) Sépharade (Esmirna) 20. Taksim (Kemence, Kanun, Oud et Tanbur) Improvisation 21. Der makam-1 Hüseyni Sakil-i Aga R1za (Mss. D. Cantemir 89) Anonyme (ancien)
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Reviews: 1

Review by Jonalogic October 24, 2011 (8 of 8 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
After venting my spleen on a recent woeful Esoteric recut (Berlioz/Munch), I am pleased to report on a recording that I just love, unconditionally.

I am a relatively late comer to the marvellous series of Alia Vox recordings of Jordi Savall, in which he offers eclectic historic, ethnic and world music collections with the Hesperion XXI– and other- groups. But now I have now grown seriously addicted!

This recent addition to the series – Instanbul, Dmitrie Cantemir and the Book of the Science of Music- sounds like a bit of a musicological nightmare, does it not? Wrong!

If I were to try to describe this recording with one word, that would probably be ‘impeccable’ – sonically, musically and musicologically.

At the time of Cantemir, around 1670 to 1720, the Ottoman Empire had reached a cultural highpoint, before its eventual stagnation, decay and collapse. Crucially, it was open to a variety of civilisations and religions, with its music in particular open to strong Armenian and Sephardic traditions; after their expulsion from Spain in 1492, many Jews had settled in this relatively tolerant society.

This SACD offers music from this cultural melting pot: – often it is strange, bewitching and hypnotic, but it is never less than interesting. The playing, including that of many Turkish masters, is impeccable.

As with all the later DSD Alia Vox recordings I have heard thus far, the sound is quite beautiful; spacious, detailed, natural and refined. It rather reminds me of the BIS 'La Spagna', in fact. That's praise, indeed.

There are two more aspects I must mention. This is clearly a labour of love, with a lush and informative multi-lingual booklet, beautifully researched and presented. In fact, this is relatively restrained; double or triple sets in this series are often presented in lavish books. Someone really cares about these recordings, evidently!

Lastly, this recording is a musical journey, and –as in many journeys – you often learn something about distant and strange cultures. No bad thing, that! In fact, the whole Savall ‘project’ strikes me as an ear-opening journey through ancient, world and ethnic music.

If you have any interest in expanding your musical horizons, therefore, I can wholeheartedly recommend it to you.

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