Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Lost Paradises: Jordi Savall in his first ever appearance in Athens

Athens, 11 April 2010

Jordi Savall and Montserrat Figueras gave a stunning concert in Athens just a few days ago. Parsi asked D.T., a young student of old music and a die-hard Savall fan to share a few thoughts.

"When I was a high school student, while discussing my likes and dislikes in music and the sounds of instruments in general, our young music teacher (K.K), took out a piece of paper and wrote down a few unknown to me words: viola da gamba and theorbe. ''Search for them, and watch the film ''Tous les matins du monde''. '

'This is MY music, this is me'', I said after listening to the amazing soundtrack by Jordi Savall. Marais, Saint Colombe, Lully became my favourites and I felt so blessed for discovering early music.

Jordi Savall became an inspiration and thereafter I took the decision to study renaissance lute (something very difficult and rare in Greece, as many musicians (and not only those) ignore and depreciate this kind of music as something ''easy'').

Then came the second love: the traditional, folk, ethnic medieval and renaissance music, not the music of the royal courts that we are used to. And again Jordi Savall: Spanish music, Hebrew, Arabic etc. (check the ''Jerusalem'' and ''Istanbul'' CDs ).

This music fusion was synthesized in ''Paraisos Perdidos''(Lost Paradises), music of the nations living in Andalucía during Christopher Colombus' voyages.

The Athens Megaron on the 11th of April was full of excited people, eager to see/hear the Spanish viol player and conductor , his wife soprano Montserrat Figueras, the ensembles Hespèrion XXI, La Capella Reial de Catalunya and the two great narrators.

Montserrat Figueras performed songs full of sensitivity, so ''simple'' but so beautiful... sounds so familiar to the Greek people because of the common eastern base in music.

It was such a huge event for early music in Greece, and so important for the musicians to attend something different than opera and piano concerts over and over again.

After the concert the artists welcomed all their fans with a big smile, ready to listen carefully to all comments contrary to other ''divas'' that just ignore their public."

Not much to be added. This was indeed a night to remember: Savall, Figueras et alia created a musical universe in which we lost ourselves for nearly 2 hours, in a virtual trip to the Lost Paradises and the Sefarad, to the lands of our ancestors, from Izmir to Gibraltar, from the time of the expulsión de los judíos no convertidos (the expulsion of the sephardis) circa 1492 till today.

The alive music of distant eras, remembered by the memory of our history, can be transformed to the soul of a revitalized critic and humanistic vision of our origins and maybe even help to liberate ourselves from a certain cultural amnesia, particularly serious in what concerns our music. Only this way, regaining and revitalizing our old musical heritage, like we do when we approach history and our past from another perspective, will we be able to imagine and build in a better way the memory of the future.

Jordi Savall, Summer of 2006


Anonymous said...

Savall is a machine. I don't know when he sleeps. How many records each year? One year ago i see his "Jerusalem" in Barcelona. I have no words. Last Sunday, Bach's B minor Mass. Stunning. As an encore, Arvo Part Da Pacem. From middle-age to XXI. And next week, moore. Maybe jazz...


Parsifal said...

I think he has a total of 75 records!

The encores were also spectacular in the Athens concert...Special mention to a traditional tune that was sung by Figueras and the arab signer in Greek, Turkish and Arab, a tune that in Greece we know as "Apo kseno topo" (Από ξένο τόπο), in Turkey is known as Üsküdar'a Giderken, a tune that has been sung even by Eartha Kitt, the Pink Martini etc

Alex said...

His music totally changed my view of what classical music is and where it originates from.It makes you realise there is no difference between folk music and classical music. Its all the same, its all wonderful and whoever disagrees obviously is not familiar with Savall's music.I saw him when i was a student.He came over to London, played and conducted. He was amazing.Thank you for writing about him.