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Orient Occident, Vol. 2: Hommage a la Syrie / Bouhassoun, Khatry, Khalil, Rahal. Hesperion XXI, Savall

Conductor Ensemble

Notes & Reviews:

The first volume of Orient Occident - released in 2006 - turned out to be a landmark in Jordi Savall's discography. For the first time, the maestro explored an extra-European repertoire, demonstrating the same musicological expertise he had shown with composers like Marin Marais. The album soon became a best seller. The second volume in this exploration focuses on Syria, alternating instrumental and vocal pieces. Musicians from Syria, Lebanon and Israel play alongside Hespèrion XXI and illustrate the artistic and humanist process we have come to expect from Jordi Savall.

Gramophone Magazine, January 2014
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.

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

BBC Music Magazine, February 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.

American Record Guide, March/April 2014
The playing is expert (with Savall joining in): particularly fascinating to me is the capacity of one of the flutes to approximate human speech. There is a lot of beautiful and fascinating listening here.

Early Music Review, December 2013
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.


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