Paraisos Perdidos Christiphorus Columbus

Full size album art
Label: ALIA VOX
Catalog: AV9850SACD
Format: SACD

This remarkable release, comprising two CDs and a book of 270 pages with information in Spanish, English, German, Italian, Catalan, Arabic, and Hebrew, is a veritable history lesson in music, poetry, and literature about Spain, as well as Christopher Columbus and his voyages and times. The title of the set, Lost Paradises, refers to the cessation of the period during which all three traditions - Jewish, Muslim and Christian - worked together to create greatness. The music, pre-baroque and sounding very exotic indeed, is exquisitely performed, sometimes by itself and sometimes in conjunction with the reading of a text. The Moorish and Sephardic music is particularly colorful, but the more familiar, "early" music is just as ravishing. With repertoire both sacred and profane, featuring dances and dirges, Savall, in his notes, is attempting to make us pay heed to the past so that we may form our futures: This isn't as pedantic as it sounds, but it is certainly more than an afternoon of great music listening. What a stunning gift this would make - either to yourself or others. --Robert Levine

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