Mare Nostrum / Montserrat Figueras

Audio Samples

>Traditional, Sephardic : Una matica de ruda
>Savall, Jordi : Saltarello for ensemble (after Alfonso X El Sabio, Cantigas de Santa Maria Nos. 77-119)
>Elmaleh, Lior [Vocals] : Kamti Beivshan Layla, for voice, kaval & 2 ouds (improvisation after the Song of Songs)
>Traditional, Turkish : Gagauski, traditional Balkan dance melody
>Traditional, Berber : Amazigh Lullaby ("I met my big brother")
>Traditional, Sephardic : A la una yo naci (Sarajevo)
>Traditional, Turkish : Uskudar
>Traditional, Sephardic : La estrellas de los cielos
>Mizrahi, R' Asher : LaMoledet shuvi roni, for voice & ensemble
>Traditional, Greek : Kurdi Pesrev, taksim & makam for traditional ensemble (attrb. Angeli)
>Traditional, Sephardic : Alef, mem, shin (The Three Principles), traditional song
>Han, Sultan Selim III : Pesendide "Saz Semarsi", for traditional ensemble
>Traditional, Jewish : Noumi noumi yaldati
>Traditional, Sephardic : La Armada Turca, folk song (Turkish)
>Traditional, Sephardic : En la santa Helena (Sofia)
>Traditional, Sephardic : Shaar, petakh dodi (Open the door, my beloved), folksong
>Güngör, Hakan : Taksim kanun, improvisation for ensemble
>Traditional, Spanish : Nana andaluza ("Duerme, mi nina")
>Traditional, Sephardic : El Rey que tanto madruga
>Traditional, Jewish : Ana Av Rajman, traditional Hebrew chant (Morocco)
>Anonymous, Italian : Chominciamento di gioia
>Traditional, Greek : Koimnsou khaidemeno mou (Sleep, my baby)
>Traditional, Catalan : El Cant dels Aucells, traditional song
>Traditional, Jewish : Hon Tahon, traditional Hebrew chant (Israel)
>Anonymous, Turkish : Makam Rast "Murass'a" usul Duyek, traditional melody (Ms. de Kantemiroglu)
>Traditional, Sephardic : Adonenu Elohenu, traditional song (Tunisia)
>Traditional, Bulgarian : Taksim and Dance, traditional dance melody
>Savall, Ferran : Mireu el nostre mar, improvisation for voice, guitar & ensemble

Album Summary

>Traditional, Sephardic : Una matica de ruda
>Savall, Jordi : Saltarello for ensemble (after Alfonso X El Sabio, Cantigas de Santa Maria Nos. 77-119)
>Elmaleh, Lior [Vocals] : Kamti Beivshan Layla, for voice, kaval & 2 ouds (improvisation after the Song of Songs)
>Traditional, Turkish : Gagauski, traditional Balkan dance melody
>Traditional, Berber : Amazigh Lullaby ("I met my big brother")
>Traditional, Sephardic : A la una yo naci (Sarajevo)
>Traditional, Turkish : Uskudar
>Traditional, Sephardic : La estrellas de los cielos
>Mizrahi, R' Asher : LaMoledet shuvi roni, for voice & ensemble
>Traditional, Greek : Kurdi Pesrev, taksim & makam for traditional ensemble (attrb. Angeli)
>Traditional, Sephardic : Alef, mem, shin (The Three Principles), traditional song
>Han, Sultan Selim III : Pesendide "Saz Semarsi", for traditional ensemble
>Traditional, Jewish : Noumi noumi yaldati
>Traditional, Sephardic : La Armada Turca, folk song (Turkish)
>Traditional, Sephardic : En la santa Helena (Sofia)
>Traditional, Sephardic : Shaar, petakh dodi (Open the door, my beloved), folksong
>Güngör, Hakan : Taksim kanun, improvisation for ensemble
>Traditional, Spanish : Nana andaluza ("Duerme, mi nina")
>Traditional, Sephardic : El Rey que tanto madruga
>Traditional, Jewish : Ana Av Rajman, traditional Hebrew chant (Morocco)
>Anonymous, Italian : Chominciamento di gioia
>Traditional, Greek : Koimnsou khaidemeno mou (Sleep, my baby)
>Traditional, Catalan : El Cant dels Aucells, traditional song
>Traditional, Jewish : Hon Tahon, traditional Hebrew chant (Israel)
>Anonymous, Turkish : Makam Rast "Murass'a" usul Duyek, traditional melody (Ms. de Kantemiroglu)
>Traditional, Sephardic : Adonenu Elohenu, traditional song (Tunisia)
>Traditional, Bulgarian : Taksim and Dance, traditional dance melody
>Savall, Ferran : Mireu el nostre mar, improvisation for voice, guitar & ensemble
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composers

Notes & Reviews:

Mare Nostrum (Latin for "Our Sea") was a Roman name for the Mediterranean Sea, one of the most important focal points of cultural, political and intellectual growth and exchange and dialogue in the history of humankind. In this lavishly illustrated CD-book, Jordi Savall and the musicians of Hespèrion XXI invite us to explore the facts, myths and legends of the Mediterranean and the sway it has had over many peoples and cultures - from Morocco to Israel, from Spain to Lebanon. Also featured on the recording are soprano Montserrat Figueras and Israeli singer Lior Elmaleh, one of the leading representatives of the new generation of performers of Andalusian music.

"Like Hesperion's previous CDs, this one is a lovely tissue of local musics...The soloists are remarkable: Gursoy Dincer brings a gentle Turkish lilt, Lior Elmaleh an answering sound from Jerusalem, and Montserrat Figueras accompanies herself on a variety of instruments in songs from all over...her passing represents a loss to the musical world." -BBC Music Magazine

"Savall's collaboration with non-Western musicians receives here perhaps its fullest expression. The quality of the performances is gentle and serious. Even the livelier instrumental numbers are imbued with a sense of innate poise...[Figueras's] voice, delicate yet warm, and wonderfully evocative, is heard to most moving effect." -Gramophone

BBC Music Magazine, March 2012
Like Hesperion's previous CDs, this one is a lovely tissue of local musics...The soloists are remarkable: Gursoy Dincer brings a gentle Turkish lilt, Lior Elmaleh an answering sound from Jerusalem, and Montserrat Figueras accompanies herself on a variety of instruments in songs from all over...her passing represents a loss to the musical world.

Gramophone Magazine, April 2012
Savall's collaboration with non-Western musicians receives here perhaps its fullest expression. The quality of the performances is gentle and serious. Even the livelier instrumental numbers are imbued with a sense of innate poise...[Figueras's] voice, delicate yet warm, and wonderfully evocative, is heard to most moving effect.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Chapelle de la Misericorde, Bordeaux (07/2011); Collégiale de Cardona (Catalogne) (07/2011); Franc-Warêt Church, Namur, Belgium (07/2011); L'Abbaye de Fontfroide (07/2011); Monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes, Catalonia (07/2011); Chapelle de la Misericorde, Bordeaux (08/2010); Collégiale de Cardona (Catalogne) (08/2010); Franc-Warêt Church, Namur, Belgium (08/2010); L'Abbaye de Fontfroide (08/2010); Monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes, Catalonia (08/2010); Chapelle de la Misericorde, Bordeaux (09/2010); Collégiale de Cardona (Catalogne) (09/2010); Franc-Warêt Church, Namur, Belgium (09/2010); L'Abbaye de Fontfroide (09/2010); Monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes, Catalonia (09/2010); Chapelle de la Misericorde, Bordeaux (12/2009); Collégiale de Cardona (Catalogne) (12/2009); Franc-Warêt Church, Namur, Belgium (12/2009); L'Abbaye de Fontfroide (12/2009); Monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes, Catalonia (12/2009); Chapelle de la Misericorde, Bordeaux (2010-11-??&2011-01-??&2011-); Collégiale de Cardona (Catalogne) (2010-11-??&2011-01-??&2011-); Franc-Warêt Church, Namur, Belgium (2010-11-??&2011-01-??&2011-); L'Abbaye de Fontfroide (2010-11-??&2011-01-??&2011-); Monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes, Catalonia (2010-11-??&2011-01-??&2011-).

One of three ensembles led by Catalan viola da gambist Jordi Savall, Hesperion XXI is devoted to the interpretation of deeply rooted early musical traditions. Released on his Alia Vox label near the close of 2011, Mare Nostrum could be seen to exist near the very center and apex of Savall's massive discography. The project was completed only months before the passing of his wife and longtime collaborator, vocalist Montserrat Figueras. It stands as her parting prayer for tolerance, peace, and reconciliation between peoples and their nations, not despite but rather in celebration of their contrasting cultures and intermingled religions. The melodies in this collection and the individuals who interpret them come from an assortment of lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. Drawing upon multiple oral traditions and an intensively researched medieval manuscript repertory, Hesperion XXI present a gently inspiring blend of traditional melodies, calmly played and sung with elegance and improvised precision. If the prevailing mood is ruminative, there are many centuries of shared history on which to ruminate. Mare Nostrum literally means "Our Sea". While the phrase is traceable to Roman hubris following the Punic Wars and has since been abused by nationalists and other extremists who misconstrue the concept behind the word "our", Savall, Figueras, and Hesperion XXI propose a more humane and realistic application. As a "meeting point between different peoples", the Mediterranean has long served as "space for dialogue" between Christians, Muslims, and Jews.

Figueras was an ethereal soprano and multi-instrumentalist whose spirit and methodology enabled musicians and listeners to enter into a state of grace. Mare Nostrum also features Turkish singer Gursoy Dinçer and the Israeli Andalusian Orchestra's resident solo vocalist Lior Elmaleh. The 28 selections include the Sephardic air, the Berber berçeuse, and the Turkish gazel or ghazal. Here are lullabies from Egypt, Greece, Morocco, Andalusia, and Jerusalem, and traditional airs from Tunisia, Bulgaria, Catalonia, Istanbul, Agadir, Rhodes, and Sarajevo. Mare Nostrum transcends all national boundaries while rendering prevalent notions of entertainment more or less meaningless. The listener should reserve time and space for the playback experience, so as to fully engage with the 11th century Hebrew song and the 14th century Italian stamping dance or istanpitta. Make time for an improvisation on the Song of Solomon and the setting of a Cabalistic text from the Sephardic Book of Creation. The collection closes with a setting of verses by contemporary Spanish poet, translator, and educator Manuel Forcano. It features Ferran Savall, who sings and plays guitar.

Anyone investing in a copy of Mare Nostrum will want to assign it a special place among the most treasured tomes on the bookshelf, for the two CDs come in a 450-page hardbound book printed in ten languages, richly illustrated with centuries-old artwork and illumined cartography, as well as a schematic chronology of historic events extending from the 8th to 6th centuries BCE through 2010-2011. Context for the music is provided through intelligent and insightful texts by eight different essayists, including Savall himself. This is his seventh CD book. The spirit embodied in Savall and Figueras' Mare Nostrum is most beautifully articulated in this passage by French-Lebanese novelist Amin Maalouf: "If we are to restore some hope to our disoriented humanity, we must go beyond a mere dialogue of cultures and beliefs towards a dialogue of souls. As we stand at the beginning of the 21st century, that is the irreplaceable mission of art." ~ arwulf arwulf



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Works Details

>Traditional, Sephardic : Una matica de ruda
  • Performers: Lior Elmaleh (Voice); Montserrat Figueras (Soprano)
  • Conductor: Jordi Savall
  • Ensemble: Hespèrion XXI
  • Running Time: 7 min. 21 sec.

>Savall, Jordi : Saltarello for ensemble (after Alfonso X El Sabio, Cantigas de Santa Maria Nos. 77-119)
  • Ensemble: Hespèrion XXI
  • Running Time: 4 min. 41 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Elmaleh, Lior [Vocals] : Kamti Beivshan Layla, for voice, kaval & 2 ouds (improvisation after the Song of Songs)
  • Performers: Driss El Maloumi (Oud); Lior Elmaleh (Voice); Yair Dalal (Oud); Nedyalko Nedyalkov (Kaval)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 10 sec.

>Traditional, Turkish : Gagauski, traditional Balkan dance melody
  • Performers: Nedyalko Nedyalkov (Kaval); Pedro Estevan (Percussion); Dmitri Psonis (Morisca)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 46 sec.

>Traditional, Berber : Amazigh Lullaby ("I met my big brother")
  • Performers: Driss El Maloumi (Oud); Montserrat Figueras (Soprano)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 13 sec.

>Traditional, Sephardic : A la una yo nací (Sarajevo)
  • Ensemble: Hespèrion XXI
  • Running Time: 4 min. 10 sec.
  • Form: Vocal

>Traditional, Turkish : Üsküdar
  • Performer: Gursoy Dincer (Voice)
  • Ensemble: Hespèrion XXI
  • Running Time: 6 min. sec.

>Traditional, Sephardic : La estrellas de los cielos
  • Ensemble: Hespèrion XXI
  • Running Time: 7 min. 42 sec.

>Mizrahi, R' Asher : LaMoledet shuvi roni, for voice & ensemble
  • Performer: Lior Elmaleh (Voice)
  • Ensemble: Hespèrion XXI
  • Running Time: 4 min. 37 sec.

>Traditional, Greek : Kurdi Pesrev, taksim & makam for traditional ensemble (attrb. Angeli)
  • Ensemble: Hespèrion XXI
  • Running Time: 5 min. 22 sec.

>Traditional, Sephardic : Alef, mem, shin (The Three Principles), traditional song
  • Performers: Driss El Maloumi (Rebab); Nedyalko Nedyalkov (Rebab); Montserrat Figueras (Soprano); Jordi Savall (Rebab)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 55 sec.

>Han, Sultan Selim III : Pesendîde "Saz Semârsi", for traditional ensemble
  • Ensemble: Hespèrion XXI
  • Running Time: 4 min. 9 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical

>Traditional, Jewish : Noumi noumi yaldati
  • Performers: Montserrat Figueras (Soprano); Lior Elmaleh (Voice)
  • Ensemble: Hespèrion XXI
  • Running Time: 6 min. 5 sec.

>Traditional, Sephardic : La Armada Turca, folk song (Turkish)
  • Ensemble: Hespèrion XXI
  • Running Time: 3 min. 56 sec.

>Traditional, Sephardic : En la santa Helena (Sofía)
  • Ensemble: Hespèrion XXI
  • Running Time: 4 min. 26 sec.

>Traditional, Sephardic : Shaar, petakh dodi (Open the door, my beloved), folksong
  • Performer: Lior Elmaleh (Voice)
  • Ensemble: Hespèrion XXI
  • Running Time: 3 min. 40 sec.

>Hakan Güngör : Taksim kanun, improvisation for ensemble
  • Ensemble: Hespèrion XXI
  • Running Time: 2 min. 30 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Traditional, Spanish : Nana andaluza ("Duerme, mi niña")
  • Performers: Xavier Díaz-Latorre (Guitar); Montserrat Figueras (Soprano); Jordi Savall (Bass Viola da gamba)
  • Running Time: 8 min. 43 sec.

>Traditional, Sephardic : El Rey que tanto madruga
  • Ensemble: Hespèrion XXI
  • Running Time: 4 min. 21 sec.

>Traditional, Jewish : Ana Av Rajman, traditional Hebrew chant (Morocco)
  • Performer: Lior Elmaleh (Voice)
  • Ensemble: Hespèrion XXI
  • Running Time: 7 min. 3 sec.

>Anonymous, Italian : Chominciamento di gioia
  • Performers: Pierre Hamon (Flute); Pedro Estevan (Percussion)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 8 sec.

>Traditional, Greek : Koimnsou khaidemeno mou (Sleep, my baby)
  • Performers: Pedro Estevan (Bells); Montserrat Figueras (Soprano); Dmitri Psonis (Santur); Jordi Savall (Lyra)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 18 sec.

>Traditional, Catalan : El Cant dels Aucells, traditional song
  • Ensemble: Hespèrion XXI
  • Running Time: 7 min. 21 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Traditional, Jewish : Hon Tahon, traditional Hebrew chant (Israel)
  • Performer: Lior Elmaleh (Voice)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 3 sec.

>Anonymous, Turkish : Makam Rast "Murass'a" usul Düyek, traditional melody (Ms. de Kantemiroglu)
  • Ensemble: Hespèrion XXI
  • Running Time: 7 min. 29 sec.

>Traditional, Sephardic : Adonenu Elohenu, traditional song (Tunisia)
  • Performers: Haig Sarikouyoumdjian (Duduk); Montserrat Figueras (Soprano); Jordi Savall (Rebab); Pierre Hamon (Flute)
  • Running Time: 10 min. 45 sec.

>Traditional, Bulgarian : Taksim and Dance, traditional dance melody
  • Ensemble: Hespèrion XXI
  • Running Time: 4 min. 59 sec.

>Savall, Ferran : Mireu el nostre mar, improvisation for voice, guitar & ensemble
  • Performers: Ferran Savall (Guitar); Ferran Savall (Theorbo)
  • Ensemble: Hespèrion XXI
  • Running Time: 7 min. 48 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary