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Hesperion XXI

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The Routes of Slavery 1444-1888

The Routes of Slavery 1444-1888

Africa, Portugal, Spain & Latin America

Kassé Mady Diabaté & Violet Diallo (Mali) & Jordi Savall (viola da gamba and Artistic director)

Hespèrion XXI - La Capella Reial de Catalunya & Tembembe Ensamble Continuo

A homage to the memory of victims of the slave trade.

This new multicultural project from Jordi Savall and his musicians on The Routes of Slavery (1444-1888) marks a world first in the history of music and of the three continents involved in the trade in African slaves and their exploitation in the New World, which are brought together through the early music of the colonial period, the musical traditions of Mali and the oral traditions of the descendants of slaves in Madagascar, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico. This 'Musical Memoir' is accompanied with historical texts on slavery, beginning with the early chronicles of 1444 and concluding with texts written by the Nobel Peace Prize-winner Martin Luther King shortly before his assassination in 1968.

Sponsored by UNESCO, this musical reconciliation is founded on equality, harmony and reciprocal inspiration, constituting the commemoration of a tragic and shameful chapter in the history of mankind. A vast historical and musical fresco, which throws light on the West’s attitude towards Africans in Latin America, the United States and Europe, as well as its indifference towards that 'forgotten' continent of Africa. But it is also a joyful celebration of hearts and spirits united through music and dance, offering us all a vital source of survival, a refuge of peace, consolation and hope.

2 hybrid SACD + 1 DVD filmed live at the Fontfroide Abbey (France) PAL zone 0

Booklet : English, French, German, Italian, Castillian, Catalan

“[Savall’s] latest project explor[es] the musical trail left by the slave trade, and instead of trying to describe it, the narrations of contemporary descriptions of slavery, the music from percussion and simple improvisation to more formal choral works and pieces from Africa and Madagascar, to Spain, Mexico, Latin America …None does this kind of thing quite like Savall and his label Alia Vox.” Record Review, February 2017

“It’s both a timely reminder of our ignoble instinct to subjugate and a moving gesture of reconciliation.” Sunday Times, 26th February 2017

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Llibre Vermell de Montserrat

Llibre Vermell de Montserrat

Red Book of Montserrat

Jordi Savall (rabec, rebab, viella & direcció)

Hespèrion XXI & La Capella Reial de Catalunya

Recorded live in Barcelona (Church Santa Maria del Pi) November 25th, 2013

Jordi Savall had every historical, geographical and emotional reason to pay a well deserved tribute to one of the most famous manuscripts of ancient music. The 'Llibre Vermell de Montserrat' is a collection of devotional texts containing late medieval songs and dances. The 14th-century manuscript was compiled in and is still located at the monastery of Montserrat outside Barcelona in Catalonia (Spain). The title describes the red binding in which the collection was placed in the 19th century. The songs were written in Catalan, in Occitan and in Latin for the pilgrims to have something appropriately «chaste and pious» to sing and dance. In this beautiful live recording made at the Santa Maria del Pi church in Barcelona, the colorful succession of songs and dances offers us a pleasant trip to the heart of the medieval music.

“The 10 numbers are punctuated by bells and interspersed with instrumental improvisations, so that as so often with Savall, it’s all undeniably atmospheric, but hard to separate what might be authentic from what is purely speculative.” The Guardian, 15th December 2016 ***

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Ministriles Reales - Royal Minstrels

Ministriles Reales - Royal Minstrels

Instrumental music of the Golden Age - Renaissance & Baroque 1450-1690


La Spagna

Dit le Bourguygnon


In Exitu Israel

Chiave, chiave

Buenas nuevas de alegría, villancico

Si de vos mi bien

El cervel mi fa

Propinán de Melyor


Estas noches a tan largas

Un niño nos es nacido

Diferencias sobre las vacas

Buelbe tus claros ojos


Batalla de Morales


O desdichado de mi


Glosa sobre 'Nunca fue pena mayor'


Batalla imperial

Cabezón, A:

Tiento III

Diferencias sobre el canto de 'La Dama le demanda'

Himno XVI

Cabezón, H:

Susane un jur


Basse danse 'Mappa mundi'


Vive le roy

La Spagna a 5


Quedate, Carillo

Mortal tristura me dieron


Pues con sombra de tristura, villancico


De tous biens plaine

Guerrero, Francisco:

Glosas sobre Hermosa Catalina

Guerrero, P:

La perra mora (Moresca)



Tiento de Batalla


Pavana 'La Battaglia'


Jam lucis orto sidere

Omnes de Saba

Alme Deus, qui cuncta tenes


A sombra de mis cabellos


Pavana & Galliarda

Fantasia VIII

Ortiz, D:

Passamezzo moderno III

Romanesca VII

Ponce, J:

Ave color vini clari

Ramos de Pareja:

Mundus et Musica, canon perpetuum

Torre, F:

Danza alta


Quien vos dio tal señorío?


Muy triste será mi vida


Historia Baetica: Viva el gran Re Don Fernando


No tenga nadie sperança, villancico

Part 1: Villancicos y Danzas de Altas y Baixas 1450-1530

Part 2: Fantasías, Diferencias y Batallas 1530-1690

This beautiful set gathers for the first time Spanish and French instrumental dances from the XVIth and XVIIth Centuries scattered as 'interludes' in many Astrée and Alia Vox existing releases. It is a definitive overview of this repertoire and enables us to realise just how beautiful and irresistible this music can be. Given electric performances and virile repertoire, the Royal Minstrels offer uplifting experiences. Deluxe packaging and beautiful artwork as you would expect from Alia Vox…

Booklet: English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Catalan

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Isaac: In the time of Lorenzo de’ Medici and Maximilan I

Isaac: In the time of Lorenzo de’ Medici and Maximilan I


1. La morra (instrumental) - Henricus Isaac

2. Motet : Sustinuimus pacem ? 4 v. - Henricus Isaac

3. Fanfare of the Medicis: Palle, palle (instrumental) - Henricus Isaac

4. Motet : Parce, Domine - Henricus Isaac

5. Chanson : Innsbruck, ich mu? dich lassen - Henricus Isaac

6. Carnival song: Hora e di maggio - Henricus Isaac

7. Instrumental song: A la battaglia - Henricus Isaac

8. Lament: Quis dabit capiti meo aquan? Henricus Isaac / Angelo Poliziano

9. Motet : Sancti spiritus assit nobis gratia - Henricus Isaac

10. Motet : Angeli, Archangeli ? 6 v. - Henricus Isaac

11. Instrumental motet (Duc de Ferrara) : La Mi La Sol - Henricus Isaac

12. Motet : Optime Divino date munere pastor ovili ? 6 v. - Henricus Isaac

13. Motet (Choralis Constantinus) : Circumdederunt me - Henricus Isaac

14. Song : O Welt, ich mu? dich lassen - Henricus Isaac / Texte Anonyme

15. Motet (Contrafactum de Virgo prudentissima) : Christus, filius Dei ? 6 v. - Henricus Isaac

This new album is not only the opportunity to discover the music of Heinrich Isaac under the inspired direction of Jordi Savall ; it is also the portrait of an era during which the Hundred Year's War ended, the Medici family reached its peak, the idea of the Reformation surged and Charles V was crowned at the head of an Empire that redefined the idea of Europe, as did the music of this time.

Recorded December 23rd, 2016 - January 19th, 2017 in Spain

Format: digipak deluxe - 1 hybrid multichannel


Booklet: English, French, German, Italian, Castillan, Catalan

“a musical narrative assembled with real skill and the judicious interweaving of the instrumental forces of Hesperion XXI with the voices of La Capella Reial de Catalunya keeps it all fresh, lively and unpredictable” Record Review, 23rd July 2017

“a wide-ranging recital, associating each meticulously crafted, sumptuous piece with an event relevant to the composer, not least his time in the employ of de’ Medici and Maximilian I. It’s all beautifully performed and lavishly presented.” Sunday Times, 23rd July 2017

“There’s a vast range of expression, from laments and motets to carnival songs and ceremonial music. Jordi Savall and his musicians excel in this repertoire and seem more at home with this harmonious idiom than they do in later work.” The Observer, 30th July 2017 ****

Released or re-released in last 6 months

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Granada 1013-1526

Granada 1013-1526

1. Invocación Qamti be-Ishon Layla (Cantar de los Cantares. Inspirado en Cantar 3, 1-4)

2. Taqsim instrumental & Danza morisca (Ney)

3. Moaxaja: Billadi askara min aadbi Llama - Al-Andalus

4. Preces: Penitentes orate - Plegaria mozárabe s. XI

5. Ductia (instr.) - Cantiga de Santa María (CSM 123) - Alfonso X El Sabio

6. Siónida: Yefe Nof - Yehudá Haleví (1075-1141)

7. Taqsim (Kanun) - Improvisación - Moaxaja: Ya gosan naqa - Ibn Zuhr - Tradición Al-Ándalus

8. Fragmento de la Carta sobre la conversión forzosa Iggeret ha-Shemad, cap. IV - Las Estrellas de los cielos

9. Danza morisca

10. Lamento: Plange Castella misera - Anónimo, Códice de Las Huelgas, f. 160, s. X

11. Danza de iniciación (instrumental)

12. Lamento hebraico-andaluz Dror yiqrá - Dunash ben Labrat, s. X

13. Poema en piedra de la Alhambra de Granada. Texto en árabe de Ibn Zamrak - Taqsim

14. Pero que seja a gente - Cantiga de Santa María (CSM 181) - Alfonso X El Sabio

15. Romance fronterizo: Cerco de Baeza - Anónimo, Cancionero de Palacio (CMP 106)

16. Lamento: El camino – La angustia - Improvisación andalusí

17. Propiñan del Melyor (instr.) - Anónimo, s. XV

18. Villancico: Aquella mora garrida - Gabriel, Cancionero de Palacio (CMP 254)

19. Villancico: Viva el gran Re Don Fernando - Carlo Verardi

20. Romance: El pan de la aflicción - Plegaria sefardí

21. Diario de abordo de Cristóbal Colón, Noche del 11 al 12 octubre 1492

22. Villancico: Todos los bienes del mundo - Juan del Enzina

23. Crónica de los Reyes de Castilla, cap. CXCVI

24. Lamento andalusí Maqam hijaz - Ibn Zaydún (Córdoba 1003-Sevilla 1071)

Jordi Savall examines 500 years of history in this portrait of a city that symbolises like no other the fruitful, and at the same time, conflictual encounter of the three monotheistic religions. The succession of the Zirid, Almoravid, Almohad and Nasrid dynasties, their relationship with the neighbouring Christian kingdoms and the often precarious situation of the Jews (the first inhabitants of this area) are reflected in this wide musical fresco, in which each culture displays its most advanced refinement.

“imaginatively chosen, memorably performed, well documented with essays and illustrations.” Record Review, 11th June 2016

“Here is a fascinating range of music Islamic, Jewish and Christian, charting half a millennium of history...The performances under Savall’s direction are always evocative, and some are touching and some vibrant.” Sunday Times, 3rd July 2016

“A classic Jordi Savall project with Iberian cultural history lesson and loads of misty reverb attached...the performances are full of finesse and intensity...What stands out for me is the Mozarabic polyphony – vibrant, poised singing from La Capella Reial de Catalunya.” The Guardian, 28th July 2016 ****

“The celebration of musical interconnectedness is manifest in the smoothness of Savall’s programme and its execution … Heart-rending moments of beauty abound such as Manuel Forcano’s (director, Institute Ramon Llull) recitation concerning the forced conversion of the Jews in 1148.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2016

“The music itself is packed full of discoveries and treasures which often reveal themselves through juxtaposition … The choral work is also typically excellent … In short, this is a breathtaking achievement. It’s the kind of disc that often left me in quiet astonishment not just at its ambition, artistry or skill, but at the way it tries to further the human story and enrich the experience of us all. Bravo!” MusicWeb International, September 2016

“As ever, Savall points up the sources’ colour, vitality, expressiveness and socio-political context in an exciting, fascinating and utterly beguiling programme … The singers are superb, displaying gorgeous timbres and honest emotional dimensions … the realisations are consistently moving and beautiful. Even the spoken texts sound mellifluous and resonant.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2016 *****

“In yet another Tardis of a disc, time-traveller extraordinare Jordi Savall packs five centuries and seven epochs of Granada’s history into a haunting, atmospheric, evocative, heart-rending, -stopping, -warming by turns melange of three medieval cultures: Arabic, Christian and Jewish … this SACD with (as ever) stunningly beautiful booklet enthrals, enchants and demands total attention.” Choir & Organ, November/December 2016

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Ramon Llull (1232-1316)

Ramon Llull (1232-1316)

Era of Conquest, Dialogue, and Exhortation

Ramon Llull (1232-1316) was one of the most prominent writers and poets of medieval Catalonia. Llull lived at a time of great cultural splendour, marked by the coexistence, not always peacefully, of the three religious cultures of his time: Christian, Jewish, Muslim. While there is no direct evidence whether or not Ramon Llull was himself a musician, it’s clear that he deeply loved the art of singing; indeed, many of his poems were intended to be sung.

Jordi Savall leads La Capella Reial de Catalunya, Hespèrion XXI, and special guest artists in a programme entitled 'Ramon Llull: Era of Conquest, Dialogue, and Exhortation'.

“If you’ve come across Savall’s special projects on the Alia Vox label before you’ll know just what an attractive package they’ve put together; the music though, that’s the thing, colourful, imaginative, beautifully recorded” CD Review, 21st May 2016

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Bal-kan: Honey & Blood

Bal-kan: Honey & Blood

Cycles of Life

The name of the Balkans has an unusually graphic etymology: having discovered the beauty of this pivotal part of Europe, which stretches from Italy to the Bosphorous, and the ruggedness of its people, who put up fierce resistance to invasion, the Turks chose to describe ̀the region with the words Bal (Honey) and Kan (Blood). Honey & Blood: never was there so apt a metaphor! So much richness and drama packed into such a small area is guaranteed to fire the imagination of historians and artists, especially musicians.

Thanks to the magic of an ambitious programme built around the cycles of life, Jordi Savall invites us to travel the length and breadth of a region which has always had more than its share of human and historical drama. 230 minutes of music scan the full range of human emotions illuminated by 1001 different musical traditions, all of which nevertheless spring from a common source.

"The future belongs to those with the longest memory", wrote Nietzsche. Once more, Jordi Savall brilliantly demonstrates that music is a key component of the collective memory that enables us to face our future. This lavishly documented CD-Book, translated into 12 languages, is a must for any self-respecting collector. Fans of Jordi Savall's comprehensive documentary editions will need little prompting.

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Orient Occident II

Orient Occident II

A Tribute to Syria (Hommage à la Syrie)

Ahla Zahra (Chant), Semaimakam Bayati, Creirem’en fach, The Dawn (Chant), Shaouia, Dum Pater familias, A Alab (Chant), Isabella, Ce Brun (Chant), Trotto, Ya Mariam el bekr (Chant), Ghazal, Qalaq (Chant), Cantiga Virgen, madre de nostro Sennor, Hija mia - Et dodimkala (Israël), Una Pastora, A Damas (Chant), Improvisation Ney - Final March

“There are love songs, laments, homages to the Virgin, dances and improvisations, all given with the intensity and spontaneity that are Savall’s hallmarks.” Sunday Times, 10th November 2013

“The juxtaposition of repertoires is effective, the medieval pieces acting as a kind of musical bridge between the West and the East...Not crossover, then, but dialogue. More of that is definitely necessary, especially when it produces such outstandingly beautiful results.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2014

“with players and singers from all round the Mediterranean, the music itself is of a very high standard, and it makes a lovely celebration of the spirit of this unfortunate country. The singers are excellent, and the soloists on the oud, rebab, ney and percussion are brilliant.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2014 ****

“They have covered a variety of genres, all pleasurable to the ear and elaborated with such skilful improvisation as an Arabic audience would anticipate and applaud with excitement… The result is atmospheric and musically sympathetic. The vocalists give a beautiful and moving demonstration of Arabic singing.” Early Music Review, December 2013

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Balkan Spirit

Balkan Spirit

1 Traditional Dance 3’50

2 Hungarian Air 5’33

3 Chichovata (Bulgaria) 3’32

4 Soufi Dance 3’07

5 Traditional (Serbia) 5’27

6 Dramatic Song(Serbia) 5’21

7 Sborenka (Bulgaria) 2’28

8 Biljana (Macedonia) 4’38

9 Sousta (Greece and Turkey) 3’21

10 Gulubovska Ruchenitsa (Bulgaria) 5’48

11 Suite 7’12

12 King Nimrod 6’01

13 TaXyla (Greece) 2’59

14 Sitno Vlashko (Bulgaria) 3’39

15 Ciocarla (Croatia) 2’17

16 Doine, pourtala & horacaval (Roumania) 7’49

17 Lyric Piece (Serbia) 3’37

18 Traditional Dance (Croatia) 2’37

19 Piece for cymbalum and ensemble 2’06

Following the success of Spirit of Armenia, Balkan Spirit enables us to discover another area of great musical tradition and intercultural dialogue: the Balkans. Alongside musicians from Serbia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece and Turkey, Jordi Savall conducts his ensemble, Hespèrion XXI, and unveils the original lyricism of an instrumental and vocal repertoire that covers the entire spectrum of human emotions.

“The performances are inventive, using an appropriate instrumentarium, so we hear beguiling sounds plucked, bowed or blown. These tunes display a sophistication of variation and rhythm; sometimes one is simply mesmerised by the aching poignancy of it all.” Sunday Times, 8th July 2013

“This is an entrancing CD, with dances, laments, and feast-day songs linked in a slow-quick-slow structure. Perhaps as an implicit tribute to Montserrat Figueras, there are no vocal numbers, but the musicians Savall has assembled from the relevant countries display a wonderful range of virtuosity.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2013 *****

“The stunning virtuosity and musicianship of the star line-up of instrumentalists… it is a delight to hear them unplugged and working with a sensitive and truly international collaborator… I find myself taking down Alia vox recordings very frequently for listening pleasure.” Early Music Review, October 2013

BBC Music Magazine

Disc of the month - September 2013

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Alia Vox - AVSA9898


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Erasmus van Rotterdam: In Praise of Folly

Erasmus van Rotterdam: In Praise of Folly

SACD 1 features highlights of the Praise of the Folly (recited in French) mixed with 22 “Folias”, including 5 new recordings and 17 pieces from“La Folia” and “Altre Folie”.

SACD 2 and 3 feature new recordings of music from the times of Erasmus, mixed with texts by Erasmus and Luther (recited in French).

SACD 4, 5 and 6 contains the music of discs 1, 2 and 3 without the spoken texts.

Each set contains a unique code to download the spoken texts in Flemish, English, German, Castillan, Catalan and German on the internet.

This new project is a Tribute to Erasmus (1466-1536), a Dutch Renaissance scholar, known as the 'Prince of the Humanists'.

Using humanist techniques for working on texts, he prepared important new Latin and Greek editions of the New Testament and also wrote 'In Praise of Folly', 'Handbook of a Christian Knight' and many other works. Erasmus lived against the backdrop of the growing European religious Reformation; but while he was critical of the abuses within the Church and called for reform, he kept his distance from Luther and Melancthon and continued to recognise the authority of the Pope. His middle of the road approach disappointed and even angered scholars in both camps.

Jordi Savall regards him as a model of wisdom and tolerance.

“This is another outstanding release from Alia Vox...The singing and playing of La Capella Reial de Catalunya and Hesperion XXI display, as usual, an exemplary combination of stylistic awareness, passion and panache.” Sunday Times, 13th January 2013

“though the spoken sections are in French, it's so well delivered - and translated in the book - that even those with minimal French will not feel excluded...What [Savall's] and his musical army give us is a tissue of words and music in the style we have learned to expect from him. Letters and literary extracts are interpersed with music” BBC Music Magazine, April 2013 ****

“This extraordinary collection is truly a feast of (Erasmian) reason and beauty.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2013

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Alia Vox - AVSA9895

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